Tips for choosing housing in seismic zones

It is important to keep in mind how prone Mexico is to earthquakes. When looking for a house in an area that is prone to earthquakes, it is essential to seek professional guidance.

Tips for choosing housing in seismic zones
Choosing a home in an area prone to earthquakes with these helpful hints. Photo by Adam Le Sommer / Unsplash

Once again, September 19 reminded us how susceptible Mexico and its capital are to earthquakes. Therefore, before buying a new home in a seismic zone, it is recommended to request structural plans and seek professional advice to interpret them.

In this regard, architect Adán Delgado explained that in Mexico City "there are three types of soil, the hard area is located in the south, southwest, and west. The transition zone is the area, it can be said, more stable, the northern part and the type 3 zone is the lake zone, which is the one found throughout the east".

For this reason, he recommended to those looking to buy a house in a seismic zone "to check that the plans have the steel, that they are calculated, and that they are designed to be able to build, and that the construction is based on these plans".

Lessons from the 1985 and 2017 earthquakes

The specialists highlight that after the 1985 earthquake, the use of steel-reinforced concrete in buildings was established, as well as the distribution of loads. "Now they build with Milan wall, which makes a much more rigid foundation, they allow the steel structures to move, along with the earth, then it is not as rigid as concrete which is what they used to build with before," explained real estate marketer Joseph Mansur.

The specialists recommend verifying that the house is well signposted, to have it present in case of a fire or earthquake emergency. "You have to understand that earthquakes claim lives, that earthquakes claim patrimonies, and that you should not take it lightly," reminded Joseph Mansur.

And for the case of a second-use property, this expert also recommends reviewing its conditions before the acquisition. "The structural report after the earthquakes is important to be seen because there is a DRO, an expert, or a structural engineer who has probably reviewed the property, practically all of them were reviewed, and can certify that the structure of that property is good".

And an important fact: after the 1957 earthquake, the figure of the Director Responsible for Construction (DRO) appeared, and after the 1985 earthquake, these are now supported by co-responsible persons, for greater safety.