SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Korea Bizwire) – All new buildings in South Korea that are higher than one story will be required to be earthquake-resistant from next year, while those with 16 floors or more must have their earthquake-proof designs verified, the government said Tuesday.
The measure was set following a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the nation’s southeastern region on Sept. 12, the most powerful tremor to be recorded here, and the nearly 400 aftershocks since. The region was again struck by an aftershock measuring magnitude 4.5 on Monday night.
“Earthquake-resistant structures were first introduced through a 1988 revision of the building code, and have been continuously expanded to include smaller buildings,” the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a press release.
“The government decided to further expand the regulation to include buildings that are two stories or higher, considering recent indications that the country’s geological characteristics make such structures especially vulnerable to earthquakes,” it added.
Currently, only buildings that are three stories or higher are required to be earthquake-resistant.
Starting next year, buildings that are 16 stories or higher must have their designs verified and show how strong a quake they can withstand, the ministry said.
Those with 50 stories or more will be subject to an additional safety evaluation that will also check the possible effect on the surrounding structures and environment in case of a quake.
The ministry said a public notice of the proposed revision will be announced Thursday with the government seeking to legislate the revision early next year.