Since the dawn of human civilization, mankind has engaged in taming nature for his own survival and benefit. His efforts intensified with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, which was initiated by Watt's endeavour in utilizing steam to run engines. Mankind's triumph over nature gathered further momentum, particularly in the past half-century, when human civilization witnessed incredible events ranging from ventures into space to development of sophisticated humanoid robots. However, amidst all these developments, scientific advancements have faced the vagaries of nature. Furthermore, of the different types of catastrophes, earthquakes and cyclones together are responsible for the overwhelming majority of global damages caused by natural disasters in the last decade, leaving millions of people homeless.
Common people are not fully aware of the vulnerability of human settlements to such disasters and the related risks. Even when people are in a position to appreciate the perceptible difference between safe and unsafe buildings in the context of disaster-related hazards, the options of planning, design, and construction to reduce the vulnerability of infrastructure to natural hazards have often been ignored due to the perceived higher costs and lack of appropriate expertise. Contrary to common perception, implementation of hazard-proof measures in a building can be relatively inexpensive in terms of construction costs, and it may provide long-term benefit to development projects. Evolution of such measures in the form of guidelines is rooted in the understanding of the principles of mechanics of regulating the behaviour of structures under the lateral dynamic loading imparted by earthquakes and cyclones. Most of these guidelines are already followed by eminent technologists, engineers, and scientists. However, such guidelines, though not difficult to understand, have not been commonly followed in practice, particularly in the Indian subcontinent. These guidelines are meant for both architectural and structural features.
In this context, this book is an attempt to introduce these guidelines in such a form that all aspects can be properly understood, related, and implemented by practising engineers and architects.