REGULATION: NOT ALL BAD
This Mercury News piece shows that there are indeed occasions when governmental regulations are a good thing:
“Earthquakes happen so infrequently that people forget about (the damage) they can do,” said Rakesh Goel, a Cal Poly professor of civil and environmental engineering.
Buildings constructed before 1971 — and there are many all around San Luis Obispo County — were not required to meet the strict seismic codes in force today. In particular, most older buildings lack steel reinforcements to help them withstand the violent shaking of earthquakes.
Brick buildings that are reinforced will still shake, but they hold up better. The 1940s fire station-turned-office building at Garden and Pismo streets in San Luis Obispo, for example, fared well Monday despite its brick materials.
Yesterday’s earthquake was quite powerful and yet only three people were killed. Contrast that with lesser quakes in the developing world–or, indeed, even Japan–when scores if not hundreds of people die because of shoddy construction. Indeed, those killed yesterday were in a structure dating to 1892.