Earthquake Mitigation of Western Australia Regional Towns

The Shire of York is partnering with the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), the University of Adelaide and Geoscience Australia in a collaborative project that will examine the opportunities for reducing the vulnerability of the township of York to a major earthquake. The project forms part of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Collaborative Research Centre project "Cost-effective Mitigation Strategy Development for Building related Earthquake Risk".

Western Australia's oldest inland town is located in one of Australia's most active earthquake regions and has a number of valuable historical buildings that are vulnerable to damage by a large earthquake. This project will examine practical approaches for retrofitting the older building stock in York. It will use technology to virtually apply various retrofits to York historical buildings to understand what modifications are most effective in reducing the damage from a large earthquake.

The project involves: a field survey of the older masonry buildings in the town of York; a survey of the nature of community businesses to enable the assessment of the disruption to economic activity that would occur due to an earthquake event; assessment of the reduced economic losses and benefit versus cost for a staged implementation of mitigation; and the development of scenarios to assist DFES and the Shire of York with emergency management planning.

What will residents of York notice?

During February and April 2018, small teams from Geoscience Australia and the University of Adelaide will gather information about the older masonry buildings in York. Information such as construction type, building materials, building height and the presence of features such as chimneys and parapets will be recorded. The teams will be using hand-held computers, digital cameras and a vehicle mounted camera system called the Rapid Inventory Collection System to collect this information. Typically the teams will view buildings from the street. They may also ask permission to briefly view the interior of some buildings.

Why is this research important?

Many Australian buildings are quite vulnerable to low to moderate earthquake hazard. Earthquake hazard was only fully recognised for Australian building design in the early 1990's following the Newcastle Earthquake in 1989. This has resulted in a significant legacy of buildings that are inherently more vulnerable. Knowledge of the most effective retrofit measures for older masonry buildings will enable and encourage the strengthening of buildings resulting in more resilient communities. The research will not only benefit the Shire of York but also other small Australian towns with similar structures.

Further Information

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