The death toll from a massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria will "double or more" from its current level of 28,000, UN relief chief Martin Griffiths said
The worst disasters to hit the country has left over 35,000 people dead so far AFP News

News that Turkish building contractors were arrested trying to escape the country after one of the worst disasters to hit the country has left over 35,000 people dead so far, leaves an unsettling feeling for just about everyone everywhere sitting in a building more than three stories high.

Now, we all wonder if the building contractor responsible for the construction of our building was scrupulous and honest and did not cut corners to save money. After Turkey, no doubt this is a question on many minds.

Building codes are an essential component of ensuring the safety and stability of buildings. These codes are a set of regulations and standards that outline the minimum requirements for construction, design, and materials used in building construction. The purpose of building codes is to ensure that buildings are safe for occupants, resistant to natural disasters, and able to withstand the test of time. They also exist to prevent unscrupulous contractors from cutting corners to save money.

Corruption in the UK construction industry is a growing concern that has been making headlines in recent years. This illegal and unethical practice undermines the industry's reputation and creates a negative impact on the economy, society, and the environment.

Despite efforts to combat corruption, the construction sector continues to be plagued by this issue, and it is essential to understand its causes, consequences, and how to prevent it from happening.

There are several factors that contribute to the prevalence of corruption in the construction sector in the UK. One of the main causes is the competitive nature of the industry, which creates an environment in which companies are willing to bend the rules to secure contracts and gain an advantage over their competitors.

Additionally, the procurement process can be complex and opaque, providing opportunities for corrupt individuals to take advantage of the system. The construction sector also relies on numerous sub-contractors, who are often independent and operate in a less regulated environment, which can create opportunities for bribery and fraud.

The consequences of corruption in the construction sector are wide-ranging and can have significant impacts on the industry, the economy, and society as a whole. One of the most significant consequences is the increased cost of construction projects, as corrupt practices often lead to inflated prices and the use of substandard materials. This not only affects the financial viability of the project but also undermines the public's trust in the construction sector.

Additionally, corruption can also lead to the construction of unsafe and environmentally damaging structures, putting the public at risk and damaging the environment.

How effective are building codes?

The effectiveness of building codes with regard to building safety and stability can be seen in a number of ways. Firstly, building codes provide a clear and concise set of guidelines that must be followed in order to ensure the safety of a building. This includes requirements for the structural integrity of the building, fire safety measures, and the use of materials that are resistant to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

In addition, building codes also require regular inspections and updates to ensure that they remain relevant and effective. This includes regular updates to reflect the latest advancements in construction technology and practices, as well as regular inspections to ensure that buildings are in compliance with the latest codes.

Another way in which building codes are effective is that they help to ensure that all buildings, regardless of their location or intended use, are built to a minimum standard of safety and stability. This helps to minimize the risk of accidents, natural disasters, and other events that could cause harm to building occupants.

Overall, the effectiveness of building codes with regard to building safety and stability can be seen in the reduced number of building-related accidents and disasters, as well as in the increased resilience of buildings to natural disasters and other adverse events. While there is always room for improvement, building codes play a critical role in ensuring the safety and stability of our built environment.

Earthquakes can cause significant damage to buildings, including office buildings, and it is essential for developers to take steps to protect these structures from seismic activity.

Protecting office buildings from earthquakes requires a multi-faceted approach that includes proper site selection, designing for seismic safety, using seismic-resistant materials, incorporating seismic strengthening techniques, and providing emergency preparedness and response plans. By taking these steps, developers can help ensure that office buildings are safe and secure for occupants in the event of an earthquake.

Can the UK survive such a devastating earthquake?

While the UK does not have specific laws pertaining to earthquake building codes since the UK does not experience earthquakes on a scale seen in Turkey for example (the last major earthquake in the UK occurred in 1931), there are a number of regulations and standards in place to ensure the safety and stability of buildings in the event of earthquakes. Developers and builders are expected to comply with these regulations and standards to ensure that new buildings are designed and constructed in a manner that protects occupants and minimizes the risk of damage in the event of an earthquake.

The Building Regulations 2010 sets out the minimum standards for the design and construction of new buildings, including office buildings. These regulations cover a range of topics, including structural stability, fire safety, and accessibility. In particular, the regulations require buildings to be designed and constructed in a manner that ensures stability in the event of an earthquake, and that takes into account the specific seismic conditions of the site.

In addition to the Building Regulations, the UK also has a number of standards and codes of practice that provide guidance on designing and constructing buildings to resist earthquakes. For example, the Eurocode 8: Design of Structures for Earthquake Resistance provides guidance on the design of buildings to resist seismic loads, while BS EN 1998-1: Eurocode 8: Design of Structures for Earthquake Resistance - Part 1: General Rules, Seismic Actions, Rules for Buildings provides more detailed guidance on the design of buildings for earthquake resistance.

What can the UK do to prevent corruption?

Preventing corruption in the UK construction sector requires a multi-faceted approach that involves greater transparency, accountability, and the implementation of anti-corruption measures.

One of the key steps in preventing corruption is to improve the procurement process, making it more transparent and open to scrutiny. This can be achieved through the use of technology, such as e-tendering systems, that provide greater visibility into the procurement process. Additionally, companies should implement anti-corruption policies and procedures that outline the standards of behavior expected of employees and ensure that the company is fully compliant with anti-corruption legislation.

Corruption in the UK construction industry is a serious issue that has far-reaching consequences. It undermines the reputation of the industry, increases the cost of construction projects, and puts the public and the environment at risk.

To prevent corruption, the industry must work together to create a more transparent, accountable, and anti-corruption culture that promotes ethical behavior and discourages illegal practices. By doing so, the UK construction sector can build a more sustainable future for itself and the communities it serves, as well as keep occupants safe.

By Daniel Elliot

Daniel is a business consultant and analyst, with experience working for government organisations in the UK and US. On his free time, he regularly contributes to International Business Times UK.