The World Housing Encyclopedia (WHE) Report Database contains 130 reports on housing construction types in 43 seismically active countries. Each housing report is a detailed description of a housing type in a particular country. The description is prepared from a number of standard closed-ended questions and some narrative that have been provided by report authors. Each report has five major categories including architectural and structural features; Building Materials and Construction Process; Socio-economic Issues; Past Performance In Earthquakes, Seismic Features and Vulnerability; and Retrofit. All of the housing reports in this database have been contributed by volunteers. If you are interested in writing a housing report please contact the WHE Editorial Board.


The World Housing Encyclopedia (WHE) is a collection of resources related to housing construction practices in the seismically active areas of the world. The mission is to share experiences with different construction types and encourage the use of earthquake-resistant technologies worldwide. The technical activities of the WHE are steered by an international team of 22 professionals specializing in different aspects of seismic safety of buildings and structures. They bring relevant experience from 16 seismically active countries across the world. For more information about the World Housing Encyclopedia, visit

General Information


Report #:193
Building Type: Steel frame buildings with infill walls of PVC sheets (Petrocasas)
Country: Cuba
Author(s): Grisel Morejon Blanco
Kenia Leyva Chang
Dario Candebat Sanchez
Zulima Rivera Alvarez
Yelena Berenguer Heredia
Madelin Villalon Semanat
Dominik H. Lang
Abdelghani Meslem
Last Updated: 01/26/2016
Regions Where Found: Santiago de Cuba

Steel frames with infill walls of PVC sheets that are ...

Length of time practiced: Less than 25 years
Still Practiced: Yes
In practice as of: 2007-2014
Building Occupancy: Residential, 2 units
Typical number of stories: 1-2





Plan Shape Rectangular, solid
Additional comments on plan shape
Typical plan length (meters)
Typical plan width (meters)
Typical story height (meters)
Type of Structural System Steel: Moment Resisting Frame: With cast in-situ concrete walls
Additional comments on structural system Gravity: The floor system, transferring the gravity loads to the beams and columns and finally to the footings.Lateral: Shear walls provide the lateral resistance; the wall panels are cast-in-situ.
Gravity load-bearing & lateral load-resisting systems
Typical wall densities in direction 1 >20%
Typical wall densities in direction 2 >20%
Additional comments on typical wall densities
Wall Openings
Is it typical for buildings of this type to have common walls with adjacent buildings?
Modifications of buildings
Type of Foundation Shallow Foundation: Mat foundation
Additional comments on foundation
Type of Floor System Concrete floor, unknown
Additional comments on floor system Small beams and RC slabs cast-in-situ
Type of Roof System Metal beams or trusses supporting light roofing
Additional comments on roof system Steel trusses
Additional comments section 2


Building Materials and Construction Process



Description of Building Materials

Structural Element Building Material (s)Comment (s)

Design Process

Who is involved with the design process? Owner
Roles of those involved in the design process
Expertise of those involved in the design process

Construction Process

Who typically builds this construction type? Other
Roles of those involved in the building process
Expertise of those involved in building process
Construction process and phasing
Construction issues

Building Codes and Standards

Is this construction type address by codes/standards? Yes
Applicable codes or standards NC 46:1999 "Construcciones sismorresistentes. Requisitos para el diseno y construccion"
Process for building code enforcement

Building Permits and Development Control Rules

Are building permits required?
Is this typically informal construction?
Is this construction typically authorized as per development control rules?
Additional comments on building permits and development control rules

Building Maintenance and Condition

Typical problems associated with this type of construction
Who typically maintains buildings of this type? Other
Additional comments on maintenance and building condition

Construction Economics

Unit construction cost 12 CUC/m2
Labor requirements
Additional comments section 3


Socio-Economic Issues



Patterns of occupancy
Number of inhabitants in a typical building of this construction type during the day <5
Number of inhabitants in a typical building of this construction type during the evening/night <5
Additional comments on number of inhabitants
Economic level of inhabitants Middle-income class
Additional comments on economic level of inhabitants
Typical Source of Financing Other
Additional comments on financing
Type of Ownership Other
Additional comments on ownership
Is earthquake insurance for this construction type typically available? No
What does earthquake insurance typically cover/cost
Are premium discounts or higher coverages available for seismically strengthened buildings or new buildings built to incorporate seismically resistant features?
Additional comments on premium discounts
Additional comments section 4





Past Earthquakes in the country which affected buildings of this type

YearEarthquake Epicenter Richter Magnitude Maximum Intensity

Past Earthquakes

Damage patterns observed in past earthquakes for this construction type Unknown damage
Additional comments on earthquake damage patterns

Structural and Architectural Features for Seismic Resistance

The main reference publication used in developing the statements used in this table is FEMA 310 “Handbook for the Seismic Evaluation of Buildings-A Pre-standard”, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C., 1998.

The total width of door and window openings in a wall is: For brick masonry construction in cement mortar : less than ½ of the distance between the adjacent cross walls; For adobe masonry, stone masonry and brick masonry in mud mortar: less than 1/3 of the distance between the adjacent cross walls; For precast concrete wall structures: less than 3/4 of the length of a perimeter wall.
Structural/Architectural Feature Statement Seismic Resistance
Lateral load pathThe structure contains a complete load path for seismic force effects from any horizontal direction that serves to transfer inertial forces from the building to the foundation.
Building Configuration-VerticalThe building is regular with regards to the elevation. (Specify in 5.4.1)
Building Configuration-HorizontalThe building is regular with regards to the plan. (Specify in 5.4.2)
Roof ConstructionThe roof diaphragm is considered to be rigid and it is expected that the roof structure will maintain its integrity, i.e. shape and form, during an earthquake of intensity expected in this area.
Floor ConstructionThe floor diaphragm(s) are considered to be rigid and it is expected that the floor structure(s) will maintain its integrity during an earthquake of intensity expected in this area.
Foundation PerformanceThere is no evidence of excessive foundation movement (e.g. settlement) that would affect the integrity or performance of the structure in an earthquake.
Wall and Frame Structures-RedundancyThe number of lines of walls or frames in each principal direction is greater than or equal to 2.
Wall ProportionsHeight-to-thickness ratio of the shear walls at each floor level is: Less than 25 (concrete walls); Less than 30 (reinforced masonry walls); Less than 13 (unreinforced masonry walls);
Foundation-Wall ConnectionVertical load-bearing elements (columns, walls) are attached to the foundations; concrete columns and walls are doweled into the foundation.
Wall-Roof ConnectionsExterior walls are anchored for out-of-plane seismic effects at each diaphragm level with metal anchors or straps.
Wall Openings
Quality of Building MaterialsQuality of building materials is considered to be adequate per the requirements of national codes and standards (an estimate).
Quality of WorkmanshipQuality of workmanship (based on visual inspection of a few typical buildings) is considered to be good (per local construction standards).
MaintenanceBuildings of this type are generally well maintained and there are no visible signs of deterioration of building elements (concrete, steel, timber).

Additional comments on structural and architectural features for seismic resistance
Vertical irregularities typically found in this construction type Other
Horizontal irregularities typically found in this construction type Other
Seismic deficiency in walls Steel columns of small cross sections and over large spans; welding at the base of the columns; many joints in the walls..
Earthquake-resilient features in walls
Seismic deficiency in frames
Earthquake-resilient features in frame
Seismic deficiency in roof and floors
Earthquake resilient features in roof and floors
Seismic deficiency in foundation Unknown deficiencies
Earthquake-resilient features in foundation

Seismic Vulnerability Rating

For information about how seismic vulnerability ratings were selected see the Seismic Vulnerability Guidelines

High vulnerabilty Medium vulnerabilityLow vulnerability
Seismic vulnerability class o

Additional comments section 5 Moderate vulnerability due to the low quality of materials and the connections

Retrofit Information


Description of Seismic Strengthening Provisions

Structural Deficiency Seismic Strengthening

Additional comments on seismic strengthening provisions
Has seismic strengthening described in the above table been performed?
Was the work done as a mitigation effort on an undamaged building or as a repair following earthquake damages?
Was the construction inspected in the same manner as new construction?
Who performed the construction: a contractor or owner/user? Was an architect or engineer involved?
What has been the performance of retrofitted buildings of this type in subsequent earthquakes?
Additional comments section 6



Brzev, S., Scawthorn, C., Charleson, A.W., and Jaiswal, K. (2012). GEM basic building taxonomy, Report produced in the context of the GEM Ontology and Taxonomy Global Component project, 45 pp.

Cuban National Bureau of Standards (2013). Norma Cubana NC46: 2013, Construcciones sismoresistentes - Requisitos basicos para el diseno y construccon, 1. Edicion, January 2013, Officina Nacional de Normalizacion (NC), Habana, Cuba.

Jaiswal, K.S., and Wald, D.J. (2008). Creating a global building inventory for earthquake loss assessment and risk management, U.S. Geological Survey Open-file report 2008-1160, 106 pp.

Lang D.H., Meslem, A., Lindholm C., Blanco, G.M., Chang, K.L., Sanchez, D.C., and Alvarez, Z.R. (2015). Earthquake Loss Evaluation (ELE) for the City of Santiago de Cuba (Cuba), Report no. 15-015, Kjeller - Santiago de Cuba, October 2015, 90pp.

Medina A., Escobar E., Ortiz G. Ramirez M., Duiaz L., Mondelo F., Montejo N., Rodriguez H., Guevara T. and Acosta J. (1999). Reconocimiento geologo-geofisico de la cuenca de Santiago de Cuba, con fines de Riesgo Sismico. Empresa Geominera de Oriente, Santiago de Cuba. 32 pp.

Mendez I., Ortiz G., Aguller M., Rodriguez E., Llull E., Guevara T., Lopez T., Guilart M., Mustelier M., Gentoiu M. and Lay M. (2001). Base de datos digital de los levantamientos regionales de Cuba Oriental. Empresa Geologo-Minera de Oriente (E.G.M.O.) y Oficina Nacional de Recursos Minerales (O.N.R.M).

Morejon Blanco, G., Leyva Chang, K., Candebat Sanchez, D., Rivera Alvarez, Z., Berenguer Heredia, Y., Villalon Semanat, M., Lang, D.H., and Meslem, A. (2015). Building Classification Scheme for the City of Santiago de Cuba (Cuba), Report no. 15-010, Kjeller - Santiago de Cuba, August 2015, 30 pp.

SNIP (1963). Construction in Seismic Regions: Norms of Designing, SNIP II-A. 12-62, Moscow, 1963.


Name Title Affiliation Location Email
Grisel Morejon Blanco Vice Director Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Sismologicas (CENAIS) Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Kenia Leyva Chang Specialist for Science, Technology and Environment Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Sismologicas (CENAIS) Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Dario Candebat Sanchez Investigador Agregado Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Sismologicas (CENAIS) Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Zulima Rivera Alvarez Assistant Researcher Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Sismologicas (CENAIS) Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Yelena Berenguer Heredia Aspirante a Investigador Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Sismologicas (CENAIS) Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Madelin Villalon Semanat Investigador Agregado Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Sismologicas (CENAIS) Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Dominik H. Lang Head of Department, Earthquake Hazard and Risk NORSAR Kjeller, Norway
Abdelghani Meslem Structural and Earthquake Engineer NORSAR Kjeller, Norway


Name Title Affiliation Location Email
Jaiswal, Kishor Research Structural Engineer U.S. Geological Survey (contracted through Synergetics Incorporated) Golden CO, USA