Melih Şimşek, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Turkish Structural Steel Association and Founder of Consera, emphasizes that steel structures, which are 7-8 times more durable than traditional structures and completed 2-3 times faster, can heal the wounds of an earthquake more quickly.
In all known earthquakes in the world, steel structures were damaged much less than others. The Turkish Structural Steel Association's research on the earthquake on February 6 also confirms this. However, very few of the buildings in Turkey are made of steel.
According to the March 2023 report of the Presidency's Strategy and Budget Department, 86,7 percent of the buildings and 95,4 percent of the flats in the earthquake zone are reinforced concrete. Only 2,4 percent of the buildings are steel, while 3,5 percent are masonry and 3,6 percent are prefabricated. The remaining category includes wooden, mixed or unidentified carrier systems. The research of the Turkish Structural Steel Association shows that none of the steel structures with a share of this 2,4 percent collapsed and caused loss of life.
Since steel structures can be built twice as fast as traditional structures, they are also important in helping earthquake victims heal their wounds faster as they wait to return to their normal lives when winter begins.
Steel resistance to earthquake
Melih Şimşek, Founder of Consera and Vice Chairman of the Board of Turkish Structural Steel Association, reminded that little progress has been made since the 1999 Earthquake and said, “The number of houses in Istanbul before 2000 was 4 million 500 thousand, now it is 6 million 384 thousand. According to Ministry data, only 695 thousand houses have been transformed through the urban transformation method so far, that is, 2000 percent of pre-16 buildings were built according to the new regulations. If we assume that all buildings built after 2000 are earthquake resistant - which they are not - this means that there are still 3 million 800 thousand houses at risk of earthquake in Istanbul. These figures do not include workplaces and social structures. This is the situation in the most important city of the country. There are 38 million 400 houses in our country. Even calculating how much of it is earthquake resistant would be hopeless, so I don't have access to a calculator. In short, we have failed in the most important problem of our country.” said.
With half a century and 2,5 million square meters of construction experience, Consera aims to spread steel structures throughout the country. Şimşek explains why steel structures are more resistant to earthquakes with the following words:
“First of all, an earthquake affects buildings in proportion to their weight. The greater the total weight of the structure, the greater the earthquake force will be. For this reason, buildings in the earthquake zone should be built with as light materials as possible. The material preferred by developed countries in the world and located in earthquake geography is steel. Steel structures are 7 to 10 times lighter than traditional - especially reinforced concrete - structures and are therefore less exposed to earthquake forces. In addition, steel bearing structures are much more reliable against human errors since they are produced with 100 percent inspection in an industrial environment. Their inspection is much easier and possible. Another issue that prevents structures from being damaged during an earthquake is their ability to oscillate and be flexible. Steel structures are also much more flexible than traditional structures.”
It is possible to heal the wounds of an earthquake twice as quickly
Lightweight and modular steel structures are produced in industrial environments, thus allowing them to work 24 hours a day, regardless of climatic conditions; This makes them the ideal choice for rapid construction. Şimşek emphasized that this system is 2-3 times faster in repairing the wounds after the earthquake and said, “The first action that will enable the people to return to their lives as soon as possible after the earthquake is to build their living spaces very quickly. For example, Japan recovered from the Kobe earthquake in 1995 in just two years and took very important decisions against subsequent earthquakes. He discovered seismic isolators for high-rise buildings and used steel systems for rapid construction. Supporting skeletons in steel structure systems; Since they are produced in factories using industrial methods, independent of climatic conditions, they are 2-3 times faster than traditional methods. This shortens the completion time of the building by at least 50 percent compared to traditional buildings. In addition, this speed provides time advantages of up to 100 percent in modular structures produced with steel systems, which makes it very valuable to be able to build quickly so that our country can prepare for possible earthquakes. "A city can become old in five years instead of 10 years," he says.
After the 1999 Earthquake, Şimşek started intensive research and international trips on "How safer spaces can be built". Since that year, when he realized that the answer was steel structures, he has been trying to make this method widespread in the Turkish construction system. He stated that for this purpose, he established Turkey's first and largest light steel factory in 2001.
Şimşek stated that he sees it as a civic duty to work for the development and dissemination of steel structures, which will be the most effective solution to the earthquake problem in Turkey.