Performance of reinforced concrete buildings in the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes and seismic design in Japan


  • Mehdi Sarrafzadeh University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Ken J. Elwood University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Rajesh P. Dhakal University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Helen Ferner Beca, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Didier Pettinga Holmes Consulting Group, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Mike Stannard Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Masaki Maeda Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
  • Yoshiaki Nakano University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • Tomihisa Mukai Building Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan
  • Takuya Koike Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan



This report outlines the observations of an NZSEE team of practitioners and researchers who travelled to the Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan on a reconnaissance visit following the April 2016 earthquakes. The observations presented in this report are focussed on the performance of reinforced concrete (RC) buildings throughout Kumamoto Prefecture. It was found overall that modern RC buildings performed well, with patterns of damage which highlighted a philosophy of designing stiffer buildings with less of an emphasis on ductile behaviour. To explore this important difference in design practice, the Japanese Building Standard Law (BSL) is summarised and compared with standard New Zealand seismic design practices and evaluation methods.


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How to Cite

Sarrafzadeh, M., Elwood, K. J., Dhakal, R. P., Ferner, H., Pettinga, D., Stannard, M., Maeda, M., Nakano, Y., Mukai, T., & Koike, T. (2017). Performance of reinforced concrete buildings in the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes and seismic design in Japan . Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 50(3), 394–435.