In recent weeks, the Philippines experienced a total of 10 earthquakes, recorded 868 aftershocks which resulted to thousands of houses and infrastructures damaged, and numerous lives devastated by these natural disasters. Since the Philippines is part of a number of countries under the Ring of Fire, it means that the country will occasionally experience earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
With this in mind, how stable are the high-rise buildings in the country and how can they bear the strength of an earthquake should the Big One come?
Federal Land, one of the country’s prime real estate developers, revealed that their buildings are safe and secured structurally with a Japanese innovation that they used in the construction of their newest development, The Seasons Residences, which is being developed in partnership with Japan’s Nomura Real Estate Development Co., Ltd. and Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Ltd.
The latest innovation in earthquake control
One of the biggest innovations in earthquake vibration control technology ever to be used by Federal Land is the Visco-elastic coupling dampers (VCDs). VCDs act as shock absorbers to ensure that residents are safe and comfortable during earthquakes and typhoons. These VCDs are placed in strategic points in a building to reduce the shaking caused by quakes and strong winds during typhoons.
An earthquake’s effect on a structure, depends on the magnitude, distance of a structure to the fault, ground conditions, the age of the structure, and the building’s structural system. Tall buildings are more likely to experience more shaking by a large earthquake that is as far as 50km., while low-rise buildings are likely to be shaken more by large earthquakes from nearby faults. Every building whether low-, mid- or high-rise needs to be designed to resist earthquake.
Due to the location of The Seasons Residences, Federal Land looked at the West and East Valley Fault lines, the Philippine Fault System, and the Manila Trench while designing it. “You design the building in such a way that it will be able to resist that peak ground acceleration,” said Raul Manlapig, managing director of engineering and design firm Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd. in the Philippines.
The damping systems like those of VCDs help dispel an earthquake’s energy to minimize possible damage to a building. The system will also help occupants of high-rise buildings not feel as dizzy as those in buildings that don’t have it.
The same system was used in the construction of some of the world’s tallest buildings such as the Tokyo Skytree and Taipei 101. According to Keisuke Sugihara, general manager of PNS Advanced Steel Technology, Inc. — a subsidiary of Nippon Steel Engineering Group, the VCDs used in the construction of The Seasons Residences, have the capacity to enhance the protection and increase the safety of the building during an earthquake, reduce damage under all levels of earthquake loading, improve occupant comfort under wind loads, and enhance building resilience and business continuity. He also added that the VCDs have a lifespan of beyond 50 years and are 100 percent maintenance free and that they are the only damping system that meet the stringent design targets for the project efficiently.
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For more information on The Seasons Residences, call 359-6756, email [email protected] or visit the showroom at 7th Ave. cor. 34th St., Grand Central Park, North BGC, Taguig City (across Lexus Manila showroom from 7th Ave.).