Posted January. 26, 2010 09:14,
Buildings whose construction will start next year must have an earthquake-resistant design regardless of size, the government said yesterday.
Officials from 17 government agencies including the Public Administration and Security Ministry set comprehensive measures to prevent a disaster from an earthquake at meeting in Seoul`s Central Government Complex.
Park Yeon-soo, head of the National Emergency Management Agency, told a news briefing after the meeting, We decided on comprehensive measures to prevent disasters from earthquakes since Korea saw a record 60 earthquakes last year and experts say we are no longer safe from earthquakes.
The meeting came in the wake of a Dong-A Ilbo report saying an earthquake will inflict massive damage on Korea because only 18 percent of the countrys buildings are earthquake-resistant.
The government agencies also agreed to revise construction laws this year to expand the earthquake-resistant requirement for buildings three stories or higher or one with a combined floor area exceeding 1,000 square meters to buildings two stories or lower.
Experts say low-rise buildings in Korea are prone to earthquakes, citing the 1995 Kobe earthquakes destruction of 49,000 buildings, of which 46,000 or 94 percent were lower than three stories.
The agencies also agreed to revise laws on contingency measures in case of an earthquake to offer incentives such as tax breaks if building owners meet earthquake-resistant standards.
They will also revise regulations to make schools, which are known as highly vulnerable to earthquake damage, meet the highest quake-resistant standards.