Where are the high risk areas in Israel?
A strong earthquake influences areas that can be dozens of kilometers away from its actual source. Although the settlements closest to the Great Rift Valley or the Igor Fracture are under high risk of being hit by the earthquake, geographical proximity is not the only factor to consider, when thinking of the damage that may be caused. The danger to population and property comes mainly from being hurt by surrounding buildings. This is why the dangerous areas are those that have a high concentration of buildings that were not constructed to survive earthquakes.

What are my rights under “Tama 38”?
“Tama” grants construction rights to buildings over two floors, which were given a construction permit before 01/01/1980. Smaller buildings (fewer than 400 square meters and less than three floors high) are granted limited rights.

What are the rights given by “Tama 38”?
According to ”Tama” it is possible to add one residential unit to the residential construction, in the following forms: an additional floor that will be the same size as the building’s territory, closing a ground floor that has only pillars or adding a new wing to the building. Furthermore, it is possible to add a total of 25 square meters to apartments in the building.

I am entitled to “Tama 38” and am interested in using my rights, what must I do?
After all the residents are organized and agreed upon the project, you must decide on a mutual way of action. It is also possible to submit a request for a construction permit to the local construction committee, independently (“Tama 38” requires only a construction permit and does not require a detailed construction plan. This makes the process short and simple). Also there are several private companies that specialize in managing and guiding you through the process.

Why are the rights given by Tama limited to certain constructions?
The Israeli standard for structural resistance to earthquakes (Standard 413) became valid in 1975. This being the case, it is generally estimated that most buildings, built after 1980, were built according to this strict standard. The government did not see the necessity in reinforcing these structures according to “Tama 38” since the risk was significantly lower in these buildings than those built prior to 1980. “Tama 38” gave fewer privileges to buildings that were lower or smaller, because according to evaluation of experts, they too posed less of a risk and also in order not to hurt the characteristic of the buildings and the area.

What about structures built after 1980, which none the less require reinforcement?
It is possible to ask the local committee for a construction permit for these structures (without the need for further specification in the plans) and then be entitled to certain exemptions from the usual building guidelines. However, these buildings will not be allowed the additional rights that “Tama 38” grants, as detailed above.

How will a massive implementation of “Tama 38” on the residential environment?
The planning administration was aware of the influence that the possibilities of realizing the rights of the residential environment might bring about. This includes the possible lack of parking space for the added residential units or due to turning the ground floor, which was sustained by pillars and used for parking, into a residential floor. Reinforcing the structure and rearranging the infrastructure inside the former parking lot might have consequences on the urban design. This is why “Tama 38” gives the local authority’s engineer and the local committee jurisdiction to exercise their judgment, both in a case of one permit and in the case of a whole neighborhood or zone in the city. In this way “Tama 38” keeps the balance between the need to reinforce buildings and the need not to harm the urban texture.

How is “Tama 38” aiding urban renewal and the improvement of the structure’s look?
Reinforcing the structure is a chance to upgrade the entire building, redesign neglected fronts, add elements to improve the building (like an elevator, a secure area) and so on. Thus, “Tama 38” determines clear instructions as to how the reinforced building must be fitted into the urban texture surrounding it. “Tama 38” is an efficient instrument to start the process of renewal of urban surroundings that became old: making the apartments bigger, adding residential units, upgrading the structure design and so on. In this way, the contribution of “Tama 38” exceeds its original purpose – reinforcing the structures against earthquakes.

How might the building rights be expanded beyond what “Tama 38” grants?
“Tama 38” does not forbid handing in a detailed plan, which would offer a wider variety of rights, as well as the structure reinforcement element. A plan such as this would have to undergo a full process to receive the permit for the detailed plan. Only after receiving this permit, will the construction permit be available for the project.

What is the connection between reinforcing the structure against earthquakes and its securing?
The reinforcing of the structure might be combined with improving the building’s protective space, by combining the rights to realize “Tama 38” and the establishment of protective spaces – for the apartment (safe room) or for the entire building. For example, while exercising the rights due to the realization of “Tama 38”, the apartments might be added the total amount of 25 square meters – a part of this can be used as a protective space. Additionally, if the structure is added a column of protective spaces (protective spaces, built each on top of the other), it can also act as a way to reinforce the structure against earthquakes. Of course, it is always best to consult a certified engineer about the most suitable combination for your building.

The source of the questions and answers: the website of the Ministry of Interior – Reinforcing Structures against Earthquakes.