Quake-safe buildings

WITH reference to the letter on the subject (Jan 27), how can you determine which buildings have been built to sustain shocks of magnitude 7.5 on the Richter Scale? Obviously, the only way is to explode a very high intensity bomb 10 feet under the ground in a densely populated area. Buildings which are not quake-proof will not be able to withstand the blast. While this may appeal to a section of our people, the vast majority would obviously object to this method.

Joking aside, I have seen two buildings being built in Clifton which makes me wonder if there is any government agency to ensure that buildings are constructed to withstand quakes. One building, which will house an international hotel, is under construction for over three years now. The builders of the still under-construction hotel took more than a year in digging and completing the foundation, while construction of another building on the opposite side of the road was done in about a year and a half. And this is what has happened throughout Karachi.

Published in DAWN, 30 January 2011