The University of Groningen is to inspect all its buildings to decide whether extra measures need to be taken to protect them from possible earthquake damage. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Economic Affairs published new guidelines for earthquake-resistant buildings, known as the NPR (Netherlands Code of Practice) standard. All existing University buildings will be inspected to see whether (and to what extent) they comply with this standard. A number of specialized inspection agencies will assist the University of Groningen.
Although there is nothing to suggest that the condition of our buildings is currently unsafe, the University of Groningen does not intend to take any risks. This is the least it can be expected to do for students, staff and visitors.
Current new building projects, such as the Energy Academy Europe (EAE) and the Zernikeborg, have already been assessed for earthquake resistance on the basis of the previous NPR standard, in force when they were designed. The building work will go ahead as planned to avoid unnecessary delays. The new standard is not expected to require major design changes. New building projects still in the initial stages will be altered in line with the new NPR standard.
Inspecting all University of Groningen buildings will be a time-consuming business. The costs of the inspections and any seismic retrofitting or extra measures deemed necessary will be charged to the NAM or the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The University of Groningen is acting alongside the City of Groningen, the UMCG and Hanze University of Applied Sciences in this respect.
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