San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica has a new seismic code

The Federated Association of Engineers and Architects (CFIA) on Monday presented a new seismic code that includes new construction guidelines and requirements in Costa Rica.

The number of earthquakes per year, the country’s geological conditions and the threat of earthquakes of great magnitude are the main factors that influenced the changes.

In the manual, building rules are defined according to four seismic zones. The new code also highlights the Central Valley and the Pacific region as the riskiest areas for building, and recommends more strongly built homes and buildings in those parts of the country.

“People are going to build according to the area they choose, because we have very different seismic conditions in each region. This doesn’t mean that building costs will increase. It could lower the price of some structures, while others certainly will be more expensive,” said Roy Vargas, who coordinates the CFIA’s Seismic Code Committee.

The new Seismic Code was published in the official daily La Gaceta last Friday, but it will not enter into force until January 2013.

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