Seismic Retrofitting of Non-Engineered Masonry in Rural Nepal

Macabuag Josh, Guragain Ramesh, S Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


One of the greatest causes of casualties in major earthquakes around the world is the collapse of non-engineered masonry buildings (those built without engineering input). Yet by definition non-engineered structures remain largely outside of the scope of modern engineering research, meaning that the majority of those at risk often remain so. A further barrier to realising research in this field is the significant social and economic challenge of implementation in low-income communities, where non-engineered housing is prevalent. This paper introduces a retrofitting technique aimed at preventing or prolonging the collapse of adobe (mud brick) houses under strong earthquakes. This technique uses common polypropylene packaging straps to form a mesh, which is then used to encase structural walls. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the retrofitting technique’s development and implementation. The key development stages of static, dynamic and numerical testing are presented, showing that the proposed technique effectively prevents brittle masonry collapse and the loss of debris. An implementation project is then discussed, involving a training programme for rural masons in Nepal, a public shake-table demonstration and the retrofit of a real house. The implementation project proved effective at reaching rural communities but highlighted that government subsidies are required to incentivise the safeguarding of homes among low-income communities.
Translated title of the contributionSeismic Retrofitting of Non-Engineered Masonry in Rural Nepal
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the ICE - Structures and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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