Chief Architect: Sofia Buildings Can Handle Strong Quakes


Petar Dikov, the chief architect of Sofia, has stated that the rules for building construction, adopted 30 years ago, are very strict and the buildings in the Bulgarian capital would handle a strong earthquake.

"All the buildings that have been built since 1983 are made to handle an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2-7.3 on the Richter scale," he said in an interview for the Bulgarian daily "24 Hours".

Dikov also explained that the Bulgarian building designers are very well prepared and pay attention to the buildings' measurements for earthquakes because of past earthquakes in Bulgaria that have caused damages and victims.

"The rules have been strictly followed in the past 30 years. They can guarantee that our buildings are safe even during a strong earthquake," he said.

The architect has explained that even though most of the panel buildings have been built before the adoption of the rules for earthquakes, their constructors believe they are safer than the other buildings because their elements are not tightly connected.

"There is a danger, however, if the construction is of bad quality. It is not impossible but it is very unlikely in Bulgaria because the construction rules require a very strict control," Dikov said.

He pointed out that the most construction with bad quality could be found in houses in the villages and in the peripheral districts of the cities. In order to avoid dangerous constructions, the chief architect of Sofia has suggested making consultations with a constructor engineer and following the rules and the projects.

Dikov has explained that there have been some irregularities in the construction of buildings in Sofia after 1990. However, he noted that the municipality does not have the needed time or resource to check every building in Sofia and they depend on citizens to alarm for unregulated activities on buildings.

The chief architect of Sofia has claimed as "absurd" the statements that the construction of the subway has caused the recent earthquakes in Sofia.

"There are cases in which a human activity could cause an earthquake. However, it could happen while exploiting gas or oil fields. No such activity is happening in Sofia. The statement that by building of a 10m hole with 6m of width could cause an earthquake is absurd," Dikov said.

He pointed out that the subway is one of the objects with the highest safety requirements for all kinds of nature disasters, including earthquakes.

"The more important an object is and the more people use it, the highest its safety requirements are. The same thing is true for buildings higher than 25m," Dikov said.

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Photo: BGNES

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