GMS engineers and the other members of the Applied Technology Council (ATC) reconnaissance team arrived in Mexico City and coordinated their plan of action to study the effects of the 9/19/2017 earthquake on building structures. The first morning, they met at the WSP office to organize the reconnaissance for that day. In order to maximize the use of the researchers’ time, the team was divided into three smaller groups. Each went to a different section in the city to evaluate damage. Ramon Gilsanz and Laura Hernandez went to meetings with local engineers and professors to learn about the damage and collaborate on its assessment. Then they visited El Colegio De Ingenieros Civiles de Mexico where they received a detailed explanation of the inspection procedure after the earthquake and the collaborative work that has been completed by different organizations in Mexico. Jennifer Lan’s group visited two buildings and also made observations from the street, walking around the damaged areas.
Construction techniques in Mexico are quite different from what we see in the U.S., employing proprietary systems patented just for Mexico, such as dissipators pictured below. Other ground-motion resisting systems the team encountered include diagonal “X-braces,” column confinement jackets and dampers, which improve building response during an earthquake.