Chile Earthquake Response

September 21, 2015

On Wednesday, September 16, 2015, an 8.3 magnitude earthquake occurred near Illapel, Chile. The quake, which was felt as far away as Argentina’s capital and prompted Tsunami warnings ranging from the Chilean coast all the way north to the U.S. California coast, has reportedly caused widespread structural damage throughout Chile. 

As insurers begin to survey the damage from this catastrophic event, the core questions that will need to be answered are:

• What damage was caused by this event?
• What is/are pre-existing damages?
• Are there other factors that may have contributed to the damage? 
• Are there deficiencies in the construction or design of the building that may have contributed to premature failure /collapse or damage to the structure?
• What is the real value of the existing structure versus replacement cost?
• What materials or components need to be replaced vs repaired?
• What building code improvements are relevant to this particular structure, or are there other new, 
best practices?
• What are the costs of different options and timelines for repairs or replacement?

• The location of the loss relative to the earthquake’s epicenter is an important factor in assessing earthquake damage. Furthermore, the soils and geology beneath the structure also play a large role in influencing the level of damage. However, structural materials, construction practices, building codes in effect at the time of design, construction, and maintenance of structures all play a factor in determining how the buildings are affected.
• Building configurations and shapes heavily influence how a building moves during a given event. For instance, L-shaped buildings, if not properly separated at the junction between building wing can perform poorly while adjacent buildings are intact. Buildings of differing heights can also produce damage where they abut as the taller building may sway more and pound on the lower building. These types of issues are best identified and analyzed by structural engineers.

PT&C|LWG has decades of experience evaluating earthquake damage following catastrophes occurring around the world. 

Whether you require a structural expert to evaluate damage to buildings, or a mechanical/electrical engineer to evaluate damage to equipment or electrical systems, our global team of engineering experts can assist you with:

• Identifying the cause and origin of structural and systems failure
• Determine the extent of damage and provide repair/replacement valuation options
• Evaluate the implications of new codes on reconstruction.

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