Earthquake-resistance checks on old apartments not progressing

Of Japan’s apartment buildings built prior to 1970 to older and less stringent earthquake standards, only 16% have been inspected to see whether they can withstand a large earthquake.

In February, the Condominium Management Companies Association conducted a survey of 2100 pre-1970 apartment buildings nationwide. From the individual management companies that responded, only 16% reported that a building inspection was carried out to assess their building’s earthquake resistance, and almost all were found not to meet current standards. Only 3% of the surveyed buildings had actually carried out any earthquake reinforcing work.

Under the Building Standards Act, earthquake resistant standards were revised in 1971 to require building pillars to have additional strengthening and reinforcement. In 1981, standards were revised again to require buildings to withstand earthquakes that produce a seismic intensity level under the Japanese shindo scale of 6+ to 7. However, there is no obligation for older buildings to conform to current standards. It is only the building management companies who are left to decide.

The Association is calling for building diagnoses and repair work to be undertaken as fast as possible. They are also seeking for the government to provide financial support to encourage older buildings to conform to current building codes.

Source: NHK, May 9, 2012.

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