Given the 4.2 magnitude earthquake that had been experienced this morning at 6:15 AM across Southern Ontario and Western New York, many questions have been raised about how Toronto would fare if a stronger earthquake were to hit.
In 2005, The Globe and Mail had published an authoritative look at what would happen in the event that a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake hit the GTA.
This report found:
Many of Toronto’s most beautiful and storied buildings, including churches and arenas, would collapse almost instantly in a powerful earthquake, experts say, since they were never designed to withstand the unique forces imposed by a major shift in the earth.
The safest buildings are those built after the mid-1970s, since they had to meet sharply increased standards. But many older buildings, he says, will simply collapse.
Many of Toronto’s buildings are structurally inadequate, since they face seismic forces that were never contemplated.
The report found that modern high-rise buildings, notably downtown commercial towers, would do very well, as they were designed to absorb energy by flexing, which is an engineering quality known as ductility.
So, how would Palace Place fare in an earthquake?
Palace Place was designed to exceed the standards on earthquakes as established in the National Building Code of Canada, 1985, requirements.
The defence against earthquakes at Palace Place includes:
- An advanced caisson foundation system
- Highly reinforced concrete
- A robust curtain wall system
- An innovative pressure release system
Palace Place was built with a caisson foundation, a very sound, advanced foundation system found in the world’s best-known skyscrapers and in marine construction environments like New York and Hong Kong. Palace Place stands on 145 tower caissons. As a comparison, the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building in Dubai, uses 192. These caissons install directly into bedrock and are considered the highest standard for foundations.
Palace Place was also built with prestressed concrete and steel reinforcement, making it strong and flexible enough to help absorb seismic energy.
The structural integrity of Palace Place is further aided by its curtain wall system, offering both the strength and flexibility needed to withstand earthquake forces. The Palace Place curtain wall would also help prevent glass breakage in such an event.
On its lowest level, Palace Place features pressure relief core openings designed to release pressure on the foundation should it ever build beyond normal tolerances. In such cases, these circle structures would elevate to relieve stress.
While Palace Place is not immune to seismic forces (nothing is really), Palace Place does offer some of the best design technologies in the Toronto landscape to endure such an event if it were to occur, making it one of the safest places to be.
As for the ‘IF’ on Toronto earthquakes, according to the report:
There is a 50-50 chance that Toronto will experience a magnitude 5 earthquake within 50-years (Projected in 2005). A magnitude 7 will occur some time within the next 300-years.
What safety features and benefits does your condo offer? Do you even have someone you could ask that would even know?
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Luke Dalinda, Realtor. Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage.