Seismic Test Shows Retrofitting Essential to Ensure Public Safety and Structural Integrity

Journal: Issue 1 - 2013

From left, Juan Aleman, a graduate research assistant in engineering at the University of Buffalo, Rick Williamson, Frank Pietrowski, Bruno Belluz, Jim Bilotta, William Haagen and Todd Flynn, all of Local 3 NY. Not pictured are Local 3 members Frank Martinez and Mike Pizetoski. Results of the test show that unreinforced masonry structures need retrofit to properly handle anticipated future seismic events to maximize public safety and structural integrity.
There are roughly 8,000 to 10,000 mid rise, multi-wythe brick masonry structures, built between 1840 and 1930 in New York City alone. Add to those the thousands of similar buildings in other major cities and it only makes sense to test how they perform in earthquakes.

Working with the University of Buffalo, IMI, the International Union, and Local 3 New York combined forces to see how masonry performs. In February, they conducted a series of seismic tests to develop and improve numerical models of buildings to determine how vulnerable they can be in earthquakes:

The International Union and IMI are working with the New York City Council, the Maryland Department of General Services and other public agencies to gain greater seismic retrofit legislation, increasing not only public safety, but work opportunities for BAC members. Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland established the Seismic Safety Task Force, including IU President Jim Boland and IMI National Director of Industry Development Dave Sovinski to assess every building owned or operated by the State to rank them in order of danger in an earthquake. This information will go to the Maryland General Assembly for funding of the retrofit work.

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