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  • Writer's pictureIgnacio Gutiérrez E.

Seismic Resistant Design: The Chilean Experience That Makes the Difference

In a world where natural disasters can wreak devastation in a matter of seconds, earthquake-resistant design has become a must. Chile, a country that has experienced numerous earthquakes throughout its history, has positioned itself as a world benchmark in this field. In this article, we will explore the importance of earthquake resistant design based on the valuable chilean experience.

Santiago, Chile

Seismic vulnerability and the need for a seismic resistant design:

Chile is located in a highly seismic zone, which exposes it to a greater risk of earthquakes. This has led to the realization that seismic vulnerability is a reality that must be seriously addressed. Seismic resistant design is the key to mitigating damage and protecting lives.

The history of earthquakes in Chile:

Throughout its history, Chile has experienced some of the most powerful earthquakes recorded in modern history. These catastrophic events have left deep scars on the country, but have also provided invaluable lessons. Each earthquake has led to improvements in the architecture and design of earthquake resistant structures.

Earthquake 9.6 On the Richter Scale, Valdivia 1960

Research and technological development:

Chile has invested significantly in research and development of technologies to meet the challenge of earthquakes. Universities, institutes and experts have dedicated themselves to better understand seismic behavior and to develop new techniques and materials for seismic resistant constructions. These innovations have made it possible to build safer and more resistant buildings.

Seismic Design Standards:

The country has established a series of seismic design standards that govern the study, design and construction of buildings. The content developed is based on international standards and on the experience accumulated over the years. It establishes specific guidelines for the resistance of materials, the structuring of buildings and the implementation of seismic energy isolation and dissipation systems. The NCh2369 standard was recently published in its second edition 2023.03.30 "Seismic design of industrial structures and facilities" and the new NCh433 standard "Seismic design of buildings" is still being prepared. This is a constant effort of many professional Structural Civil Engineers who, based on their research and experience, have positioned Chile as one of the leading countries in this matter.

An example of success:

Earthquakes following the devastating 2010 event in Chile have demonstrated the effectiveness of seismic-resistant design. Despite the magnitude of these earthquakes, buildings built under the regulations of current standards have resisted and protected their occupants remarkably. These tangible results underscore the importance of proper seismic design.


The Chilean experience in earthquake resistant design has left a deep mark on the way the world deals with earthquakes. The constant improvement of design techniques, research and the implementation of effective regulations have led to the creation of safer and more resistant structures. The importance of earthquake resistant design lies in its ability to save lives and protect heritage against the constant threat of earthquakes. The Chilean experience shows us that investment in seismic resistant design is an investment in security and resilience in the long term.

At Ingek Structural Engineering we are dedicated to the design and calculation of earthquake resistant structures based on high safety standards. We invite you to contact us, our team will provide you with the best advice.

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