Which type of architectural style should we follow to prevent landslides in mountain areas?

Architecture Designs

Every year landslides kill hundreds of people around the globe. It also results in billions of dollars in property damage. Hence construction managers need to be careful of what are the reasons for landslides and ways to prevent them. The level of disaster management is critical in the prevention of natural calamities like landslides. Mitigation of the causes of such disaster and taking necessary precautions is helpful for both structural and non-structural measures. Practices like the construction of protective structures or alteration in architectural design help cut down the vulnerability. Besides, there are certain non-structural precautions like regulation of land use and building codes.  All these together help in eliminating the impact of natural disasters.

Guidelines for buildings in landslide-prone regions

Construction of buildings in places that are prone to landslides requires different designs and construction. Architects focus on integrating certain disaster-mitigating features. Also, the sustainability of these structures and their impact on the environment require significant consideration.

The below guidelines should help design sturdy architectural structures.

Hazard identification

Depending on the location of the building and hazard map analysis, architects can recognize potential hazards that cause disturbance in the infrastructure. Considering these hazards in the planning stage and location helps in the mitigation of landslides and other related dangers.

Classification of infrastructure

The development of effective guidelines and provisions is necessary for the flexibility of buildings. The initial steps help classify and define these aspects with certain categories in the building code.

Understanding building characteristics for landslide prevention

The danger a building may face due to landslides is a combination of hazards due to the location. Vulnerability of the building structure characteristics and site characteristics are equally important. Some forms of building structures are more susceptible to damage than others.

Assessment of hazards

Right from the beginning it is important to identify the hazards using the hazard map. Precise evaluation of these factors helps in determining the intensity of impact based on building location.

Risk analysis

Complete risk analysis of the structure and its infrastructure requires evaluation based on the following factors.

  • Hazard level
  • Hazards at a specific site
  • Building vulnerability
  • Building categorization

Fundamental checklist for construction and design


The foundation and design of the building should effectively carry the load based on the bearing capacity of the soil.


The plinth should always be above the flat level of the area. It must not have any structural crack which is a sign of weak foundation. RCC plinth beam should also be a part of the design to improve its resistance against the elements of nature.


Walls must be able to withstand lateral forces due to flood waters. Typically bricks with 8 to 9 inches thickness for load-bearing wall is necessary.


The roof of the building should have a necessary slope depending on the roofing material.

Drainage system

The drainage system plays a vital role in the prevention of landslides. Water drainage from the roof and other places must not be allowed to flow down the slope. Installation of proper drain pipes is necessary to allow the water to flow down.

Sanitation mechanism

The sanitation system should be robust to prevent the leaching of waste materials into the soil. The septic tank must not get damaged from high water table levels or impermeable soil. In landslide-prone areas dry compost toilet system is most effective.

Use of pre-engineered structures

In recent years there has been a significant rise in the number of natural disasters like landslides. Besides, there is an increase in terms of severe tea and frequency. Every year hundreds of lives or lost due to the rising occurrences of natural disasters.

Hence it has become imperative to practice and innovate new building techniques to withstand landslides. One of the latest practices is the use of Pre-engineered buildings. These offer several benefits over conventional construction techniques. Designers are considering pre-engineered buildings as an effective solution to reduce the impact of landslides.

One of the notable aspects of using these structures is their lightweight construction. The buildings are usually made out of materials like wood, steel, and concrete panels that are manufactured off-site and fabricated on-site. As a result, the entire weight of the building has equal distribution on the ground. This also helps in reducing pressure on the soil.

These buildings can easily adapt to extreme weather. The Steel construction is suitable for taking on the effect of earthquakes, heavy snow, hurricanes landslides, and other extreme situations. Another notable advantage is that these are designed with regional insulation to offer protection from extreme heat and cold.

Final words

Professional architects recommend that the most effective means of preventing damage to life and property is to create buildings that are disaster-resistant and strong. Incorporation of these practices in project planning, development, and design is vital. It helps make certain that the overall design and material decisions are based on an inclusive approach.

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