Earthquake-resistant construction with Knauf


Earthquakes are a great danger for people, the environment, and nature – all over in the world. Most earthquakes are of minor intensity and cause comparably little damage. However, even moderate earthquakes can have dramatic consequences. Especially if they occur more than once and in geographically sensitive areas, earthquakes are capable of negatively impacting the basic structure of a building in the long term – in the worst case, without the knowledge of the inhabitants or users.

Other reasons for the increase in damage caused by earthquakes are the increasingly denser building developments, the constructional utilisation of high-risk areas, and unpermitted buildings, which do not in most cases meet the requirements of an earthquake-resistant building. There is also a necessity for public authorities to create an earthquake-resistant infrastructure – in uncongested areas as well as in densely populated urban areas.

In summary, you could say: earthquakes are a tremendous challenge – also and especially for the construction industry. Constructing earthquake-resistant buildings and an adequate structural infrastructure is a monumental task that cannot be overcome with political declarations of intent and responsible urban concepts alone.

Ultimately the goal is to minimise substantially the risks caused by earthquakes – and, quite honestly, to save human lives.

Much experience, much expertise

As a worldwide leading manufacturer of high-quality building materials, the Knauf Group has been dedicated to the various topics on earthquake-resistant construction for decades. We place all of our strength, all of our knowledge, and all of our energy into the new or further development of products that can allow people to live and work with as few worries as possible, even in earthquake hazard areas. Naturally, the constructional analyses of past earthquakes is a part of our research and development – we work in close collaboration with geologists, city planners, and engineers. We utilize knowledge gained from American earthquake research and national and international construction standards in earthquake hazard areas.

Intelligent planning thanks to seismic design

Seismic design concepts are proven to prevent damage caused by earthquakes. They reduce to a minimum the risk of damage to basic supporting structures during earthquakes of moderate and high intensity – and, by doing so, prevent basically the risk of a building collapse. Seismic design always starts with intelligent planning. Ideally, a building will not be “retrofitted” to become earthquake-resistant. Rather it will be built to be earthquake-resistant from the onset. The avoidance of resonance effects and the equal, symmetrical distribution of supports and bracing elements are fundamental in these cases. Seismic design incorporates into the planning and completion of an earthquake-resistant building all relevant advantages that systematic construction has over classic solid construction.

Reducing risk thanks to Knauf wall systems

Knauf wall systems play a prominent role in seismic design. As non-supporting partition walls, they provide fewer “susceptible masses” for earthquake-related forces, which creates increased protection of the construction overall. There is also the fact that the overall weight of a building constructed with Knauf wall systems is considerably lower – and, with less weight, there is significantly less strain on the supporting structures in the event of an earthquake. A third advantage of this type of construction is the factor that the wall systems maintain their space-defining function even if there are large deformations. In this way, this design effectively prevents total failure of supporting elements, for example, from explosions caused by an earthquake.

Knauf wall systems have versatile use. The spectrum ranges from earthquake-resistant refurbishment – for example, as bracing of reinforced concrete frame constructions – to new buildings. Safe concepts. Safe planning. Earthquake-resistant construction.