Bulgarian Engineers Praise Communist Era Buildings as Earthquake-ProofBusiness | June 1, 2012, Friday // 20:39| views
tefan Kinarev, chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Engineers in Investment Design. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria's communist-era "panel construction" buildings have proven to be rather earthquake-proof, according to the Sofia Chamber of Engineers.
Leading Bulgarian construction engineers spoke at a news conference Friday in Sofia in the wake of the May 22 earthquake in Western Bulgaria, Sofia, and Pernik, which had a magnitude of 5.8-6.0 on the Richter Scale but, luckily, failed to cause large-scale damages.
The engineers discussed widely the characteristics of the panel-construction apartment buildings – whose structure is constructed of large, prefabricated concrete slabs – which are also known in English as large-panel system building or LPS.
The panel construction was widely employed in communist Bulgaria between the 1950s and the 1980s – as well as in the Soviet Union and the rest of the Communist Bloc countries – as a fast and cheap way to house millions of people moved from rural areas to emerging urban hubs.
"Panel construction in Bulgaria has withstood the tests of time because the legislation for the designing of these types of buildings was among the strictest of its time," engineer Georgi Kordov, head of the Sofia Chamber of Engineers, told reporters.
"I think that people living in such residential districts have no reason to worry. Anything that had to do with seismic risks in the legislation was observed during the construction," Kordov assured.
He added that the major problems with the panel construction buildings – which still house the majority of the population in Bulgaria – mostly have to do with energy efficiency and outside appearance than with their robustness.
"The challenges that our buildings were faced with have indicated a decent performance," stated in turn engineer Stefan Kinarev, chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Engineers in Investment Design.
"95% of all buildings in Bulgaria have been built by Bulgarian designers and builders. Our legislation is at the same level as that of countries in regions with similar seismic risks," Kinarev added.
The engineers urged a more thorough effort to maintain bridges in Bulgaria on part of the authorities, amidst recent reports of a number of problematic bridges and overpasses across the country.
The last few days after the May 22 earthquake in Bulgaria saw a debate on whether the communist-era buildings or the new buildings constructed after 1989 are more earthquake-proof. Critics of the panel construction buildings have pointed out to their simple design, aging, and the fact they were built hastily by the communist regime. Critics of the second category have declared that residential construction in Bulgaria after 1989 was carried out under very lax control by the authorities, especially during the real estate and construction boom in 2005-2008.
We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!