Earthquake aftershocks a potential threat to housing
Victorian homeowners warned to act on cracks and uneven floors to protect their homes.
Earthquakes can cause structural damage to your home and an expert has warned that aftershocks can worsen any underlying problems.
“You cannot rule out the risk of damage from the aftershocks. If the building is already damaged by the main shock itself, it is more vulnerable to even the smaller ground shaking,” Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Dr Hadi Ghasemi says.
Geoscience Australia has recorded more than 150 aftershocks with a magnitude greater than 1.0 since a magnitude 5.9 earthquake was detected around Mansfield in Victoria’s north-east in September. The earthquake on September 22 was reportedly felt by more than 41,000 people and caused serious damage to buildings in Melbourne, especially in the inner suburbs of Prahran, Fitzroy and Kensington.
Rapid Building Inspections Director Daniel Watts says heritage and older buildings are more at risk because they were built prior to the introduction of minimum earthquake construction standards, which have been regularly updated since 1979.
“Our advice would be, if anyone has noticed any changes to their house, such as new cracking, windows jamming, unevenness to their flooring, and any other signs of movement, whether it’s inside or outside to the deck or yard, then we would recommend an inspection,” Watts says.
“A qualified building inspector can come to the property, look at the cracking, unevenness, or subsidence (sinking) outside, and determine whether it’s major or minor. If it’s major, they will likely recommend additional specialists, such as an engineer, to provide advice on how to rectify it.”