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Real Estate and earthquakes in Greece: Why are buildings collapsing?


The recent earthquake in Greece has the world media showing people suffering from it. However, there are individual civil engineers in Greece that refer to the state construction rules as equally strict with the ones in Japan when it comes to earthquake resistance. So why is it that a number of buildings collapse every time?

The answer is not that complicated, as one may expect. The reasons have to do with the year the buildings had been constructed. The Greek Anti Seismic Code was established for the first time in 1959 as a law of the state and became active immediately. In 1984 it was partly reviewed, while in 1992 a new law was passed which replaced the original of 1959. The 1992 law was further updated with the Anti Seismic Code of 2000 which became effective in 2001.

So basically any buildings constructed prior to 1959 were not bound by any formal earthquake resistance standards. As a result these buildings are the ones that suffer great damage every time there is an earthquake. As long as there are no victims, one may say that it is for the best since the Greek state immediately evaluates all buildings after any major event and decides which buildings are no longer suitable. When the Civil Engineers give this verdict these buildings are immediately demolished. In order to prevent the creation of homeless people, the Greek state has pre constructed houses available which are sent to an area in order to replace the houses demolished.

The Greek Anti Seismic Code (EAK 2000) refers to a "special seismic-geologic-geotechnical-structural study" which is conducted for every building prior to construction. The study takes into account the specific area and land formation where the building is to be placed. Its philosophy is to ensure that the building will not collapse from the expected maximum earthquake in the specific area for the lifespan of the building (60 years).  

Most recent constructions which have been built according to this regulation have proved that they are quite resistant to damages from seismic activity. Needless to say that Civil Engineers are legally obliged to observe all main construction stages and are liable if the standards defined are not met. Naturally the professionalism and ethics of the Civil Engineers body is extremely high in Greece and as such, ensures the quality of work offered.

This is why the Real Estate market in every part of Greece is confident that the houses offered for sale are quality builds meeting all safety and earthquake resistance regulations. 

Andreas Batakis has lived in Greece, Ireland and Cyprus, acquiring a Business Administration Degree in Greece, an International Marketing Diploma and a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management in Ireland. He is also a member of the UK based Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Andreas has extensive experience in helping people from all over the world to locate a home in Crete and is a founding member of the independent consultancy Talos Properties.

Talos properties was created in order to guide and protect all of you who wish to acquire a property in Crete via offering you a wide range of choices as well as professional advice in property related matters. For more information please access the Talos Properties website at:

tel: 0030 6977815496

North America Offices: +1 647 466-5326, +1 647 466-4720

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