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 #:56
Building Type: Timber log building
Country: Russia
Author(s): Mark Klyachko
Andrey Benin
Janna Bagdanova
Last Updated:
Regions Where Found: Buildings of this construction type can be found in seismically prone areas of Russia (Far East, Siberia, Baikal Lake Region, North Caucasus) where this construction type covers 5 to100% of the housing stock. This type of housing construction is commonly found in rural areas.

This is a rural housing construction practice widespread in the ...

Length of time practiced: More than 200 years
Still Practiced: Yes
In practice as of:
Building Occupancy: Residential, 2 units
Typical number of stories: 1-2
Terrain-Flat: Typically
Terrain-Sloped: 3
Comments: This is a traditional construction practice in the region followed for many centuries. The main function of this building typol





Plan Shape Rectangular, solid
Additional comments on plan shape
Typical plan length (meters) 14.4
Typical plan width (meters) 6.6-9.9
Typical story height (meters) 2.7
Type of Structural System Wooden Structure: Load-bearing Timber Frame: Wooden panel walls
Additional comments on structural system The load-bearing structure is made of wood. Walls are made of horizontal square sawn timber logs with special end joints (similar to dovetail joints), as illustrated in Figure 9. Vertical wall elevation is shown on Figure 8. Buildings have timber roof and fieldstone or concrete strip foundation.
Gravity load-bearing & lateral load-resisting systems
Typical wall densities in direction 1 10-15%
Typical wall densities in direction 2 10-15%
Additional comments on typical wall densities The typical structural wall density is up to 10 %. 8-12%.
Wall Openings Windows: 10-15%; Doors: 5-8%.
Is it typical for buildings of this type to have common walls with adjacent buildings? No
Modifications of buildings Building modifications are not common.
Type of Foundation Shallow Foundation: Rubble stone, fieldstone strip footingShallow Foundation: Reinforced concrete strip footing
Additional comments on foundation Isolated footings are common in some cases.
Type of Floor System Other floor system
Additional comments on floor system Wood planks or beams with ballast and concrete or plaster finishing; Wood planks or beams that support slate, metal, asbestos-cement or plastic corrugated sheets or tiles; Wood planks or beams that support slate, metal asbestos-cement or plastic corrugated sheets or tiles.
Type of Roof System Roof system, other
Additional comments on roof system Wood planks or beams supporting natural stones slates; Wood planks or beams that support slate, metal, asbestos-cement or plastic corrugated sheets or tiles; Wood planks or beams that support slate, metal, asbestos-cement or plastic corrugated sheets or tiles.
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 wooden (larch) spars wooden (larch) logs 800 Kg/sq cm (ultimate strength) Typical log diameter is 150-200 mm
Foundations Concrete10 MPa (cube compressive strength)
Floors wooden beams (larch) 800 Kg/sq cm (ultimate strength
Roof wooden beams (larch) 800 Kg/sq cm (ultimate strength

Design Process

Who is involved with the design process? EngineerArchitect
Roles of those involved in the design process Special design by Professional Engineers and architects (for typical projects and design applications);
Expertise of those involved in the design process Design expertise related to this construction type buildings is available, including the construction quality procedure developed by the author of this contribution.

Construction Process

Who typically builds this construction type? Contractor
Roles of those involved in the building process This construction type is typically built by contractors.
Expertise of those involved in building process
Construction process and phasing Simple carpentry tools are used in the construction. The construction of this type of housing takes place in a single phase. Typically, the building is originally designed for its final constructed size.
Construction issues

Building Codes and Standards

Is this construction type address by codes/standards? Yes
Applicable codes or standards Wood construction. Building code., Building Catalog of Typical Project for Housing, Vol.1, Part 2, div.1, #14, Seria 115, 1957y; SNiP II-7-81. Building in Seismic Regions. Design code (1981)
Process for building code enforcement The process consists of issuing permits for the design & construction, including the architectural permits and urban planning/municipal permits. Designers need to have licence to practice and are responsible to follow the building codes. Building inspection is performed and the permit is issued.

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 -Fire-resistance; -Walls need to be joined together by means of vertical steel bars, -Walls need to be anchored into the foundation; -Vertical clenching (vising) members need to be provided in walls for two-story buildings.
Who typically maintains buildings of this type? Owner(s)
Additional comments on maintenance and building condition The maintenance is performed either by the owner (city) or (periodically) by a contractor # a maintenance firm.

Construction Economics

Unit construction cost 140 rub/m.sq. (50-100$US/m.sq.)-official rate
Labor requirements 50-70 person-days per building.
Additional comments section 3


Socio-Economic Issues



Patterns of occupancy One family per unit (apartment). Each building typically has 2 housing unit(s).
Number of inhabitants in a typical building of this construction type during the day 5-10
Number of inhabitants in a typical building of this construction type during the evening/night 5-10
Additional comments on number of inhabitants Inhabitants during the day: <5, 5-10 Inhabitants during the night: 5-10, 10-20
Economic level of inhabitants Very low-income class (very poor)Low-income class (poor)High-income class (rich)
Additional comments on economic level of inhabitants Rich people use timber log houses as cottages. Ratio of housing unit price to annual income: 1:1 or better
Typical Source of Financing Government-owned housing
Additional comments on financing
Type of Ownership Own outrightLong-term lease
Additional comments on ownership Own outright (for one apartment), long-term lease (most common)
Is earthquake insurance for this construction type typically available? Yes
What does earthquake insurance typically cover/cost The insurance is available as a part of the usual property insurance. About 3-5% of the total estimated property value.
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
1958Kamchatka,Kronotsky Gulf
89 (MSK)

Past Earthquakes

Damage patterns observed in past earthquakes for this construction type Some buildings of this type were damaged in the 1958 Kamchatka earthquake.
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.FALSE
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.FALSE
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);N/A
Foundation-Wall ConnectionVertical load-bearing elements (columns, walls) are attached to the foundations; concrete columns and walls are doweled into the foundation.FALSE
Wall-Roof ConnectionsExterior walls are anchored for out-of-plane seismic effects at each diaphragm level with metal anchors or straps. TRUE
Wall OpeningsN/A
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).FALSE
MaintenanceBuildings of this type are generally well maintained and there are no visible signs of deterioration of building elements (concrete, steel, timber).FALSE

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 Poor log connections; Inadequate wall-foundation connections.
Earthquake-resilient features in walls
Seismic deficiency in frames Frames not provided around openings (doors, windows)
Earthquake-resilient features in frame
Seismic deficiency in roof and floors Poor roof connections (ceiling, tie-beams).
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

Retrofit Information


Description of Seismic Strengthening Provisions

Structural Deficiency Seismic Strengthening
Walls - Installation of vertical clenching members in the walls for two-story buildings; - Connecting wood logs using vertical steel bars - Installation of the frames around the openings
Wall- Foundation connection #NAME?

Additional comments on seismic strengthening provisions
Has seismic strengthening described in the above table been performed? No. In general, it is considered that seismic strengthening for this construction is not feasible.
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



Manual on Certification of Buildings and Structures in the Seismic-Prone Areas, Second Edition, CENDR, Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka, Russia, 1990.

Building Catalog of Typical Housing Projects, Vol.1, Part 2, Div.1, Seria 115, #14, 1984.


Name Title Affiliation Location Email
Mark Klyachko Dr./Director Centre on EQE&NDR, (CENDR) 9 Pobeda Ave., Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka 683006 Russia or
Andrey Benin Senior researcher Centre on EQE&NDR, (CENDR) 9 Pobeda Ave., Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka 683006 Russia or
Janna Bagdanova Senior researcher Centre on EQE&NDR, (CENDR) 9 Pobeda Ave., Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka 683006 Russia or


Name Title Affiliation Location Email
Svetlana Uranova Head of the Laboratory KRSU Bishkek 720000, KYRGYZSTAN