BRI Research Paper


Seismic Design in Mexico City.

T.Fukuta*1; December, 1991. 63p.


This paper deals with the history of the seismic design code, the current seismic regulations, the system of seismic design of buildings, and the seismic design of masonry structures in Mexico City. Mexico City has been severely damaged in the past by strong earthquakes. The Mexicans have a long history of the development for seismic design of buildings over fifty years. Their seismic code has been modified almost every ten years after its establishment in 1942. Some important concepts, which nowadays are commonly accepted in this field, were introduced into the earlier versions of the code: in 1942 importance factor of buildings according to their use, in 1957 seismic force distributing along the height of buildings, dynamic analysis method, and limitation of the lateral deformation of structures, in 1966 seismic force due to the type of structures and ground conditions, in 1976 reduction of the seismic force according to plastic deformability of structures, and limitation of the distance between buildings, and in 1985 increase of the design seismic force. The current code is refined and based on the history of earthquake experiences, and development of seismic design and construction technique.

The activity of seismic design of buildings is supported by only 530 directors and 140 structural engineers who have the related licenses. Every five years or after strong earthquakes, they also have to inspect the structural safety of important buildings.

The seismic code for masonry structures has been developed. At present, structures up to thirteen meters in height are allowed to be designed by the simplified static analysis method, which is similar to the design method of the block masonry structures in Japan.However, the coefficient of variation about the compressive strength of the masonry units and mortars are very big. The quality control of production of masonry buildings is the problem which should be resolved, in order to make the masonry structures with sufficient seismic safety.

*1 Senior Research Engineer, Structural Engineering Department, Building Research Institute, Ministry of Construction

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