NEWS

Earthquake-resistance building inspections lagging

YIANNIS ELAFROS

TAGS: Earthquake

Fewer than 22 percent of 88,000 public buildings in Greece have been inspected for earthquake resistance since the introduction of a nationwide program in 2000 and, at this rate, it would take about another 60 years to complete the program.

“The program is running slowly due to red tape and staff shortages,” Constantine Spyrakos, director of the Laboratory for Earthquake Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), told Sunday's Kathimerini.

On the upside, most of the 17,000-18,000 buildings that have been inspected lie in quake-prone areas and typically draw larger numbers of visitors.

Experts, meanwhile, are calling for financial incentives, such as tax breaks, for the seismic upgrading of privately owned properties, along the lines of Italy’s casa sicura (safe house) plan. “Priority must be given to those built before 1985,” Spyrakos said.

Greece’s modern anti-seismic building regulations were first instituted in 1985, before receiving a serious upgrade in 2000 following the 1999 Athens earthquake that killed 143 people.

Online