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 #:32
Building Type: Large panel buildings with two interior longitudinal walls
Country: Kazakhstan
Author(s): Igor Efroimovich Itskov
Ashimbayev Marat Umarbayevich
Nikolai B. Chernov
Last Updated:
Regions Where Found: Buildings of this construction type can be found in Almaty - former capital of Kazakhstan and other cities in Kazakhstan. This type of housing construction is commonly found in urban areas.

This is a typical urban residential construction commonly found in ...

Length of time practiced: Less than 25 years
Still Practiced: No
In practice as of:
Building Occupancy: Residential, 50+ units
Typical number of stories: 5-9
Terrain-Flat: Typically
Terrain-Sloped: Off
Comments: Total number of housing units depends on the number of building sections. Typically, for the three-section building, the number





Plan Shape Rectangular, solid
Additional comments on plan shape
Typical plan length (meters) 34.8
Typical plan width (meters) 12.9
Typical story height (meters) 3
Type of Structural System Structural Concrete: Precast Concrete: Shear wall structure with precast wall panel structure
Additional comments on structural system Lateral Load-Resisting System: Large panel buildings with two interior longitudinal walls (as described in this contribution) were developed in Kazakhstan and were specifically designed for the areas of high seismic hazard (intensity 9 and higher per MSK scale). It is considered that this building type (with two interior longitudinal walls) is superior as compared to other large panel building types (usually characterized with one longitudinal wall only) in terms of seismic resistance. In large panel buildings, seismic resistance in the longitudinal direction is generally worse as compared to the resistance in the transverse direction. Therefore, additional interior longitudinal wall in a building contributes to its improved seismic resistance. The lateral load-resisting structure consists of the system of precast elements: slabs and the longitudinal and cross wall panels. The length of wall panels is equal to room dimension (length/width), and the thickness is equal to 160 mm (interior walls) and 300 mm (exterior walls). Rigidity and load resistance in the longitudinal direction is provided by four walls: 2 exterior and 2 interior walls. All the walls are continuous throughout the building height. Joint system is developed such that all structural elements work together as a box-type system. Vertical wall panel connections are accomplished by means of groove joints, which consist of a continuous void between the panels with lapping horizontal steel and vertical tie-bars. Horizontal joint reinforcement consists of dowels (horizontal panel reinforcement) projected from the panels and the hairpin hooks site-welded to the dowels (the welded length of the lapped bars depends on the bar diameter and steel grade). Vertical tie-bars are designed for tension forces developed at the locations of panel intersections. Details of vertical wall panel connections are shown on Figure 4. Vertical wall connections under construction are shown on Figures 5 and 6 (note hairpin hooks). Figure 7 shows the welded horizontal reinforcement and vertical tie-bars. Several sets of hairpin hooks are provided for each wall panel over a floor height. The number is variable (generally ranging from 2 to 5), depending on the seismic demand at a particular location within a building. In general, vertical panel connections are designed to transfer the forces in 3 orthogonal directions. In order to ensure adequate shear transfer, vertical panel edges are serrated (roughened), as illustrated in Figure 9. Horizontal panel joints are somewhat different from the vertical joints. Either vertical dowels or hairpins are projected from the top and bottom panels at each floor level. The dowels/hairpins are joined by means of welding. Horizontal dowels from the adjacent floor slab panels are also joined together by means of welding. Details of horizontal panel joints are shown on Figure 3. Horizontal wall panel joints under construction are shown on Figures 5 and 8 (note the horizontal dowels projected from the floor panels and hairpins/dowels projected from the wall panels). Both the horizontal and vertical joints are grouted in-situ using concrete (same mix as used in the panel construction). Floor panels are solid 2-way slabs supported by the four wall panels. Gravity Load-Resisting System: Longitudinal and cross walls and floor slabs.
Gravity load-bearing & lateral load-resisting systems Type 7 with lime mortar instead of mud mortar. Brick dimension typically 28 x14 x 6 cm. Lime mortar 1-2 cm thick. Some mortar deterioration, at times due to water infiltration, can be found; Typical Story Height: 2.5-3.0 m in the residential portion and in the first floor of the agricultural portion. 5.0-9.0 m in the second level of the agricultural portion.
Typical wall densities in direction 1 4-5%
Typical wall densities in direction 2 5-10%
Additional comments on typical wall densities Wall density in longitudinal direction is 0.05 and in the cross direction this value is 0.07.
Wall Openings Typical window sizes are: 2.1m x 1.5m; 1.2m x 1.5m; 3.0m x 1.5m; 1.0m x 0.8m. Average door sizes are: 1m x 2m. Total window and door area constitute up to 20% of the overall wall area.
Is it typical for buildings of this type to have common walls with adjacent buildings? No
Modifications of buildings In practice there are no significant modifications for this type of construction. Typical modification patterns include the perforation of walls with door openings.
Type of Foundation Other Foundation
Additional comments on foundation
Type of Floor System Cast-in-place beamless reinforced concrete floor
Additional comments on floor system Precast solid slab
Type of Roof System Cast-in-place beamless reinforced concrete roof
Additional comments on roof system Precast solid slab
Additional comments section 2 When separated from adjacent buildings, the typical distance from a neighboring building is 10 meters.


Building Materials and Construction Process



Description of Building Materials

Structural Element Building Material (s)Comment (s)
Wall/Frame Reinforced concrete30-35 MPa (cube compressive strength) Steel yield stress 390MPa Bearing concrete layer.
Foundations Reinforced concrete20 MPa (cube compressive strength) Steel yield stress 295 MPa
Floors Reinforced concrete30-35 MPa ( cube compressive strength) Steel yield stress 390MPa
Roof Reinforced concrete30-35 MPa ( cube compressive strength) Steel yield stress 390MPa

Design Process

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

Construction Process

Who typically builds this construction type? Contractor
Roles of those involved in the building process It is more typical for this type of housing to be built by a developer.
Expertise of those involved in building process Engineers played a leading role in each stage of construction.
Construction process and phasing Construction of this type was performed by Almaty House-building complex (ADK), and owner was the City administration. The construction of this type of housing takes place in a single phase. Typically, the building is originally designed for its final constructed size. The level of control is very high. First of all, in the factory ADK the control of materials and structural elements was performed, then during the construction the control was performed by designer's organization along with special expertise organization so called State Control Committee for Architecture and Construction. Finally, before putting these buildings in operation they had been checked by the City Control Committee.
Construction issues

Building Codes and Standards

Is this construction type address by codes/standards? Yes
Applicable codes or standards SNIP II-A.12-69* "Construction in seismic regions. Standards of design." (issued in 1970 for the first time and revised in 1974) SNIP RK B.1.2-4-98 (current Code) 1998 Although the seismic code has been drastically revised three times over the last decade and the seismic requirements have become more stringent, this type of construction still meets the Code requirements without any modifications.
Process for building code enforcement

Building Permits and Development Control Rules

Are building permits required? Yes
Is this typically informal construction? No
Is this construction typically authorized as per development control rules? Yes
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? Owner(s)Renter(s)
Additional comments on maintenance and building condition

Construction Economics

Unit construction cost Construction cost is about US$ 450 /m.sq. ; in terms of the national currency of the Republic of Kazakhstan # 67,000 tenge.
Labor requirements It takes 6-8 months to build one section of a 9-storey building. Out of that period, 3 months is required for the assembly of structural elements and the remaining time is used for the finishing works.
Additional comments section 3


Socio-Economic Issues



Patterns of occupancy The pattern of occupancy depends on the number of typical sections in the building. Three apartments are located at each floor of a typical building section. Typically, over 27 families reside in one section of a 9-story building of this type.
Number of inhabitants in a typical building of this construction type during the day >20
Number of inhabitants in a typical building of this construction type during the evening/night >20
Additional comments on number of inhabitants
Economic level of inhabitants Middle-income class
Additional comments on economic level of inhabitants Ratio of housing unit price to annual income: 5:1 or worse
Typical Source of Financing Government-owned housing
Additional comments on financing
Type of Ownership Owned by group or pool
Additional comments on ownership Generally these buildings were government owned and later were transferred to private property due to privatization.
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? No
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 There have been no earthquakes with intensity of over 5 in the region since the construction of this type had started in Kazakhstan. Large panel buildings of similar construction existed in Armenia at the time of the 1988 Spitak earthquake (Richter maginute 7.0) and they remained undamaged, whereas the buildings of precast frame construction had suffered significant damages and/or collapse, as illustrated in Figure 12. These buildings were of Seria A1-451 KP-16/1 and were characterized with very similar panel connections, however they had only one loadbearing interior wall in the longitudinal direction (whereas the construction which is the subject of this contribution is characterized with the two longitudinal walls). None of the sixteen buildings of this type that existed in Leninakan at the time of the 1988 earthquake suffered any significant damage, except for the minor cracks in horizontal and vertical wall joints. In contrast, all 19 buildings of precast frame construction (series 111) that existed in the area collapsed in the earthquake. There were two large panel buildings of this type in Spitak and none of them suffered any significant damage (except for minor cracking). It should be noted that both towns, Leninakan (population 250,000) and Spitak (population 25,000) were completely destroyed. Around 25,000 people died in the earthquake and 12,000 were injured. More than 500,000 people were left homeless in the earthquake. For more details on the 1988 earthquake refer to Rzhevsky (1999), Markarian (1999) and EERI (1989).
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.TRUE
Building Configuration-VerticalThe building is regular with regards to the elevation. (Specify in 5.4.1)TRUE
Building Configuration-HorizontalThe building is regular with regards to the plan. (Specify in 5.4.2)TRUE
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.TRUE
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.TRUE
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. TRUE
Wall and Frame Structures-RedundancyThe number of lines of walls or frames in each principal direction is greater than or equal to 2.TRUE
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);TRUE
Foundation-Wall ConnectionVertical load-bearing elements (columns, walls) are attached to the foundations; concrete columns and walls are doweled into the foundation.TRUE
Wall-Roof ConnectionsExterior walls are anchored for out-of-plane seismic effects at each diaphragm level with metal anchors or straps. TRUE
Wall OpeningsTRUE
Quality of Building MaterialsQuality of building materials is considered to be adequate per the requirements of national codes and standards (an estimate). TRUE
Quality of WorkmanshipQuality of workmanship (based on visual inspection of a few typical buildings) is considered to be good (per local construction standards).TRUE
MaintenanceBuildings of this type are generally well maintained and there are no visible signs of deterioration of building elements (concrete, steel, timber).TRUE

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
Earthquake-resilient features in walls - Rigid box-type system; - Good panel and joint structural details; - Buildings of regular plan and elevation. All the walls, both in the longitudinal and cross direction, are continuous throughout the building height; - Multiple panel connections in t
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
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 The buildings of this construction type are expected to possess high seismic resistance. Although the buildings of this type have not been exposed to damaging earthquakes as yet, their dynamic performance was evaluated by means of harmonic forced vibration tests, using the resonant frequency of the building for the harmonic excitation. These dynamic loads simulated earthquake effects. The tests showed that the buildings did not experience any damage.

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? No.
Was the work done as a mitigation effort on an undamaged building or as a repair following earthquake damages? N/A.
Was the construction inspected in the same manner as new construction? N/A.
Who performed the construction: a contractor or owner/user? Was an architect or engineer involved? N/A.
What has been the performance of retrofitted buildings of this type in subsequent earthquakes? N/A.
Additional comments section 6



Series of Large Panel Residential Buildings and Block-Sections. Standard designs # 158 Research Institutes TsNIIEPzhilishe and GPI "Alma-AtaGiprogor", Alma-Ata 1977

SNIP II-A.12-69 Construction in seismic regions. Standards of design Moscow 1969

SNIP II-7-81 Construction in seismic regions. Standards of design Moscow 1982

SNIP RK B.1.2-4-98 Construction in seismic regions Almaty 1998

Destruction of Standard Residential Buildings in the 1988 Spitak, Armenia Earthquake Markarian,T., and Shaginian,S. Seismic Hazard and Building Vulnerability in Post-Soviet Central Asian Republics (Eds. Stephanie A. King, Vitaly I. Khalturin and Brian E. Tucker), NATO ASI Series 2. Environment - Vol.52, Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, 1999 1999

The December 7, 1988 Spitak, Armenia Earthquake: Results of Analysis of Structural Behavior Rzhevsky,V. Seismic Hazard and Building Vulnerability in Post-Soviet Central Asian Republics (Eds. Stephanie A. King, Vitaly I. Khalturin and Brian E. Tucker), NATO ASI Series 2. Environment - Vol.52, Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, 1999 1999

Armenia Earthquake Reconnaissance Report EERI Special Supplement to Earthquake Spectra, El Cerito, California 1989


Name Title Affiliation Location Email
Igor Efroimovich Itskov Head of Laboratory of Large Panel Buildings KazNIISSA 53, Mynbayeva str, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstanoff. # 305
Ashimbayev Marat Umarbayevich Director KazNIISSA 53, Mynbayeva str, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstanoff. # 305
Nikolai B. Chernov Research Associate Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Belgrade Belgrade 11001, SERBIA


Name Title Affiliation Location Email