Earthquake Mitigation Film
Earthquakes are among the most destructive forces on earth. They tear through cities, causing bridges and buildings to collapse and putting lives at risk. Staying up to date with seismic code is crucial for minimizing risk during earthquakes as well as maintaining compliance with local laws and regulations. Our earthquake mitigation films are a non-invasive, affordable way to adapt existing windows and historic glass in order to maintain regulatory compliance and reduce damage caused by earthquakes.
Glass Is a Major Hazard During an Earthquake.
Earthquakes don’t hurt people. Buildings do. When an earthquake strikes, shaking, surface faulting, and ground failure may occur. During this critical time, buildings and large structures pose more of a risk than any other hazard. They shift from side to side, placing structural components under major stress.
It is not unusual for structural components to fail during an earthquake. Windows, skylights, and atriums, in particular, are a major hazard. If these components become loose and fall out of place, they may come crashing to the ground, placing nearby objects and people at risk.
How Can Earthquake Mitigation Film Help?
Earthquake mitigation film is a convenient, cost effective way to bring buildings up to code. It is an especially effective means of seismic mitigation for situations in which:
- The building was established during the 1980s or preceding years
- The property has fallen out of compliance with current seismic code requirements
- Replacing all of the windows or glass in the building would be financially draining
- The building is historic and therefore the original glass must be preserved
- There are sections of glass which measure higher than 9 ft off the ground
- Annealed glass was used in some or all of the windows
Advantages of Using Window Film for Seismic Mitigation
Get the solution you need to keep your staff, patrons, and building safe. Safety window film is an effective means of seismic mitigation and offers many advantages including:
- An affordable alternative to window replacement and tempered glass
- Brings buildings up to code so that they’re compliant with local laws and regulations
- Reduces the risk of glass breakage during an earthquake
- Helps keep glass intact and prevents it from falling out of place
- May help prevent glass injuries and damage to furniture and building interiors
A Modern Solution for Historic Buildings
Today, we know a lot more about earthquakes than we used to. In fact, new buildings are constructed with seismic mitigation in mind. Older buildings, on the other hand, usually do not have the systems and design elements needed to resist earthquake shaking.
Properties that are not up to date with seismic codes can be problematic for a number of reasons. The owner could have a difficult time obtaining a building permit for future remodeling projects or even be penalized with a fine. Not to mention, there are serious safety risks.
Earthquake mitigation film offers a modern solution for improving historic buildings and minimizing risk. Safety window film can be used to engineer a solution that reduces earthquake hazards and meets seismic code requirements.
Stay Current with Seismic Code Requirements
Many cities in California, Alaska, Washington, and other areas where earthquakes are a major risk have strict seismic codes. These codes are designed to reduce the impact of earthquakes by minimizing damage and preventing injury.
As a property owner, keeping your building up to date with seismic codes is not only your duty, but also in your best interest. It will help you with the process of obtaining construction permits, keep your operations compliant, and protect the reputation and financial wellbeing of your company.
U.S. Regions with High Earthquake Risk
When you think of earthquake-prone areas in the U.S., California is probably the first place that comes to mind. The circum-Pacific seismic belt (located along the rim of the Pacific Ocean) is definitely a high risk area, but it’s not the only one in the United States. Earthquakes are just as likely to occur in certain parts of the Midwest and East Coast.
In 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey released pertinent data which revealed where major earthquakes are most likely to occur in the United States in the next 50 years. Currently, there are sixteen states that are at high risk for experiencing an earthquake. These include:
- South Carolina
If your building is located in one of these regions, it’s crucial that you have the right systems in place to protect against seismic activity and stay up to code.
Seismic Mitigation Resources
The key to preventing damage during an earthquake is planning ahead. By implementing a seismic mitigation strategy, you may be able to lessen the impact that an earthquake has on your property and prevent serious injuries. Here are some resources that can help you understand seismic codes and building design criteria:
- Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings: This resource explains how to update existing buildings in order to increase their seismic performance. It is a great resource for building owners and structural engineers.
- Techniques for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings: This is a resource from FEMA which explains techniques that can be used to strengthen the structural elements of buildings for improved seismic resistance.
- Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards: A Handbook: This handbook explains how to visually evaluate buildings for seismic risk.
- Earthquake-Resistant Design Concepts: This document from FEMA explains the building and design techniques that can be used to reduce earthquake risk.
- Earthquake Building Codes: Here is some information from FEMA which explains the building code requirements stated in the International Building Code (created by the International Code Council) which pertain to seismic mitigation.
Earthquake Mitigation Film Installation Process
At Scottish Window Tinting, we take safety seriously. That’s why we’ve designed our installation process to be extremely thorough. Here are the steps we’ll take to help you get the best results and the most out of your investment:
- Onsite inspection: We’ll come out and inspect your property in person. This gives us a chance to identify windows or glass areas that are at risk and in need of retrofitting. We are happy to work in conjunction with other construction crews, structural engineers, or building professionals you’ve hired in order to make sure you get the right solution for your needs.
- Planning and preparation: Next, we’ll create an individual plan based on our findings and your building’s needs. With this plan, we’ll make sure that all windows have the seismic restraint they need that aligns with building code requirements.
- Installation: Using safety window film, we’ll engineer and implement a unique solution for your building that helps you maintain regulatory compliance and reduce seismic hazards.
Designed & Engineered for Your Building
We know that every building is unique. That’s why we approach every project differently. Here are some of the factors we’ll consider during your earthquake mitigation project:
- The type of glass that currently exists in your building and needs to be protected
- The amount of shift that can occur within the existing glazing pocket
- Where your windows are located and how high they are off the ground
- What type of window film must be used for compliance reasons
- Whether there’s a need for a structural silicone as an attachment system
Let us help you implement the earthquake mitigation strategy you need to stay safe!
Earthquake Mitigation Film FAQ
A: Earthquake mitigation film is a great option for older buildings located in areas with strict seismic codes or that are high risk for seismic activity. We recommend reviewing and becoming familiar with the building codes and laws that apply to your city, county, and state. This will help you gain an understanding of whether or not your area is high risk and what seismic design criteria should be implemented.
A: At Scottish Window Tinting, we use a standard 4 mil safety window film for most projects.
A: No. Earthquake mitigation film is meant to provide a means of seismic restraint for windows and glass areas. It will not prevent walls, ceilings, or floors from collapsing.
A: Every situation is different. When calculating the cost of earthquake mitigation film, it’s important to figure in both the cost of labor and materials. The type of film used for earthquake mitigation is a 4 mil safety window film, which starts at roughly $8 per square foot. Attachment systems and additional labor cost extra. Please contact our office for more information on pricing.
A: Many older buildings do not have the design elements and systems in place to resist seismic shaking. This is because building codes today are completely different from what they were forty years ago.
In particular, many older buildings do not have the right type of glass in place or the correct sized gap between the glazing pocket and the glass. When an earthquake occurs, a building shifts from side to side. Ideally, you want to have half an inch of gap between the glazing pocket and the glass. This way, there is room for the glass to move without hitting the frame.
Safety window film can be used to retrofit older windows and may help keep the glass intact during shaking caused by an earthquake. Structural silicone may also be used for added reinforcement.
A: In many cases, a building must be up to code before a permit will be issued for construction or renovations. Earthquake mitigation film can be used to help bring your property up to code.
A: Scottish Window Tinting serves most major cities and towns located in the continental United States. For more information on where we install earthquake mitigation film, please contact our office.