With recent quakes there are questions on building safety standards. However, officials say starting early 2000, all the buildings in the country are designed with seismic rod and as resilient structures. These constructed buildings are considered safe compared to before.
Minister of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) Dorji Tshering said “By early 2000 the buildings that were designed in the country are safer than the buildings that were built before because by then we adopted the IS code. We are incorporating the components called seismic rod in the design of the building.”
He said they are designing the highest possible level of earthquake resilience in the buildings with the assumption that it will be a zone five. But he said there are no guarantees if they get hit by a very strong earthquake.
Lyonpo said that having to check all the buildings in the country would be near impossible due to the lack of human resources and with time constraint. Moreover, Lyonpo said that they do not see the need of checking all the buildings as from the time of designing, they incorporate the seismic features and they also do resilience designing.
For various reasons some owners of the old buildings or offices might come forward wanting to assess their buildings which can be assessed, however, the ministry feels that it would be difficult to carry out the assessment if every individual comes asking for assessment.
The ministry shared that if any buildings are impacted by the earthquake then they may assess to see if it is safe to have occupancy.
“We are dealing with technical backstopping agency whereby if we get any directives from any of the agencies or ministries wanting to access the old constructed cultural buildings then we will assess it,” he added.
In addition, Lyonpo said that the old buildings are being retrofitted but most of house owners find it is very expensive.
The ministry is collecting data of all the buildings in the country.