Scottsdale, Ariz.—While advances in building codes and design have made buildings more resistant to earthquakes, such measures are mainly designed to prevent the immediate loss of life. Although a building might not appear damaged following a serious seismic event, there is no way to immediately guarantee that the property is safe for re-occupancy without a full inspection. And while a property manager is waiting for city officials or engineers to give the go-ahead to reopen (a process that can take days or weeks), tenants are losing money in the best-case scenario. If the building is a multifamily property, then residents are temporarily homeless. This waiting period could be mitigated thanks to a new service from Digitexx Data Systems.
The company has just launched a damage-detection and performance-evaluation reporting system called REFLEXX Smart System for Buildings. Consisting of onsite sensors, cables, hardware for data acquisition and software, REFLEXX can provide structural health data in less than 15 minutes after a seismic event. According to Digitexx, the service runs about the same monthly cost as the price of cleaning supplies. Existing sensor equipment can be incorporated into the REFLEXX system as well.
The real-time quake data is run through structural algorithms that provide an actionable damage probability report. A structural engineer can access information about the actual forces the quake applied, including accelerations, displacements, velocities, interstory drift ratios, story forces and shears. The system also crunches this data down and sends a report after the quake that describes the structural health of the building at the global, floor-by-floor and even component level. Such data gives the owners/managers the ability to quickly make a plan for re-occupation and repairs.