PHIVOCS Guide 2: Earthquake Proofing your Building


Archian Design Architect Studio Bacolod City PHIVOCS Guide 2: Earthquake Proofing your Building

In the first installment of the Article, we discussed the Characteristics of Earthquake proof buildings.

Earthquake Attacks a City and its Buildings

Earthquake Attacks a City and its Buildings

Why is it important for homes and buildings to meet standards set in the Structural Code?

The code prescribes requirements which, if followed, ensure that homes and buildings will not sustain major structural damage when an earthquake strikes. In effect, it protects homeowners and building occupants.

It is developed and updated regularly by the ASEP and is approved by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the national government agency mandated to enforce structural standards in the Philippines.

The code derives its mandate from the National Building Code of the Philippines, which was enacted by Congress in 1972, years after the Casiguran Earthquake destroyed the Ruby Tower in Manila. It was later revised by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1977 through Presidential Decree No. 1096, which allowed updating of structural standards without a need for new legislation.

Updates are integrated by the ASEP when hazard scenarios, which are not yet factored in when the previous versions of the code were drafted, crop up. Since 1972, the Structural Code has been updated 6 times.

The present NSCP was written in an “ultimate strength basis.” This means structures following the code should be able to withstand earthquakes with magnitudes 8 to 9 on the Richter scale, according to engineer ​Cesar Pabalan, National Director of Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers and former ASEP President.

Devastation damage on 2 storey building Earthquake

Devastation damage on 2 storey building Earthquake

High-risk buildings

The SEAOC developed an earthquake-resistant design for buildings. The newest requirement added was the assessment of the structures’ nearness to the fault line. Included with it is the structural response mechanisms that help structures withstand vibration from earthquakes.

For 2015, a new edition will be made in response to the country’s experience with 315-kilometer per hour winds during Typhoon Yolanda (international code name: Haiyan). The current code can only withstand 250-kilometer per hour winds.

The big problem in the Philippines, is that a big percentage of the houses and structures are non-engineered – they were built without the benefit of engineers and structural codes. “Building owners still need to consult experts,”.

Structural integrity

Following the code does not necessarily guarantee a totally “earthquake-proof” house. This is because a house can still sustain non-structural damage during shaking. Windows, for instance, may still break as a result of the shaking. The goal of the code is to ensure low probability of structural collapse.

In the “How Safe is My House” project for instance, PHIVOLCS, ASEP, and JICA outline the features of a properly-built Concrete Hollow Block (CHB) house that follows the current structural code. See the table that lists the “characteristics” of earthquake proof houses. Features of Earthquake-proof houses

Where is it safe to build?

All said and done, where is it safe to build homes?

The PHIVOCS Director noted that the code mandates a “no-build zone” which is 5 meters from both sides of the fault line. This is to make sure that buildings will not be affected by ground fissure. Beyond the “no-build zone,” the height of the building and the distance from the source of the earthquake can affect the level of risk.

Low-rise structures near the fault are more at risk when the West Valley Fault line moves.

LOW-RISE BUILDINGS VULNERABLE. Low-rise structures are more vulnerable to shaking when the source is nearer. Graphic by Alejandro Edoria and Nico Villarete/Rappler

LOW-RISE BUILDINGS VULNERABLE. Low-rise structures are more vulnerable to shaking when the source is nearer. Graphic by Alejandro Edoria and Nico Villarete/Rappler

High-rise buildings near the fault, on the other hand, can withstand the shaking better because they are more flexible.

Away from the epicenter, tall structures are more vulnerable as the ground moves slower, making high-rise buildings sway more slowly.

TALL BUILDINGS VULNERABLE. High-rise buildings are more vulnerable to swaying when the source of the shaking is far as the ground moves left and right. Graphic by Alejandro Edoria/Rappler

TALL BUILDINGS VULNERABLE. High-rise buildings are more vulnerable to swaying when the source of the shaking is far as the ground moves left and right. Graphic by Alejandro Edoria/Rappler

Cutting Costs can put Lives at Risk

Whether you build near a fault line or not, the design of the building is important to ensuring safety during earthquakes.

We all want to build a house and cut the cost so we don’t get engineers and architects. But what is the price of losing family to accident or worse, death? It is priceless. Is it worth losing family members for a few thousand pesos?

The right process is to consult an engineer, get a building permit, and have a responsible person at the site during construction. These may add to costs, but it could spell the difference between safety and danger in case an earthquake strike.

Read Fears in Constructing a House in Iloilo City.

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Archian Designs Architect Studios , Philippines

Archian Designs Architect Studios is a Collaboration of Architects, Urban Planners, Interior Designers, Landscape Designers and Engineers in the Philippines. To see the contact information, email to archiandesigns@yahoo.com, call 0907 7240452 or contact us.

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Building Facade Design – Singapore Technical College


Archian Design Architect Studio Bacolod City
Archian Designs Architect Studio Projects

Project: Facade Design / Curtain Wall Glass
Location: Confidential
Architect: Arch Ian Jay Bantilan
Status: Confidential

Ngee Ann Polytechnic College
The lot is located 3 blocks away from  the clubhouse of Puerto Real in Lapaz, Iloilo City. The advantage of the site is its wide streets, quiet neighborhood and large cut of land which allows for flexible design options on the building.

Tropical Modern College Building - Ngee Ann Polytechnic 01 Singapore

Tropical Modern College Building – Ngee Ann Polytechnic 01 Singapore

The client is an extended family with four children with senior (grandparents).

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Philvocs Guide: Quick Test on Earthquake Proofing your Building


Archian Design Architect Studio Bacolod City Philvocs Guide: Quick Test on Earthquake Proofing your Building

Being situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is no stranger to earthquakes. Through centuries, Filipinos have adapted with equal courage and bravery to face fire. Throughout history, building construction relied on the flexibility of Bamboo and wood. But with modernity, building with concrete has become a necessity.

Earthquake Ring of Fire with Dragon

Earthquake Ring of Fire with Dragon

Enter the New Millenium.

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Compact Minimalist Modern House in Mandurriao, Iloilo City


Archian Design Architect Studio Bacolod City
Archian Designs Architect Studio Projects

Project: 2 Bedroom Compact Minimalist Modern House
Location: Austery Subd., Mandurriao, Iloilo City
Architect: Arch Ian Jay Bantilan
Status: Under Construction

The simplicity of form and interlocking space of glass, metal and concrete is a play of material and texture. The frontage allows maximum early morning sunlight into the living areas in the Ground Floor and bedrooms in the Second Floor.

Compact Minimalist Modern House in Mandurriao, Iloilo

Compact Minimalist Modern House in Mandurriao, Iloilo

Wide overhangs were incorporated to address the hot sun from 830am to the noon. As louvers are positioned in the front facade, it catches the breezes that passes and channels it into the living and dining areas to exit on the rear openings while the second floor low walls allow air to circulate inside the house.

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The Modern House: Reincarnations of the Bahay Kubo


Archian Design Architect Studio Iloilo - Cebu City

The Modern House: Reincarnations of the Bahay Kubo

Once upon a time, there was a great bamboo stalk. The stalk among many things was warm and fuzy. It had two beating hearts. After a few years the bamboo became full and burst and out came the two great lovers: malakas and maganda. They gathered the splinters and built their home. Malakas from the bottom of his heart used his hair to tie the bamboo to build the rafters and maganda used her light to shine on the home. From them started all the Filipino race. . . . and the legend of the Bahay Kubo.

The bahay kubo has gone a long way from its early beginnings. It was time that tested the kubo’s strength and has grown all our myth of heroes and tribal chiefs with banig (sleeping matt) on the bamboo floor. Read more of this post

4 Bedroom Modern Residence – Puerto Real, Lapaz, Iloilo City


Archian Design Architect Studio Bacolod City
Archian Designs Architect Studio Projects

Project: Modern Tropical 4 Bedroom Residence Building
Location: Lapaz, Iloilo City
Architect: Arch Ian Jay Bantilan
Status: Architecture Design

The lot is located 3 blocks away from  the clubhouse of Puerto Real in Lapaz, Iloilo City. The advantage of the site is its wide streets, quiet neighborhood and large cut of land which allows for flexible design options on the building.Modern Garage Residence - Puerto Real House - Iloilo City

Modern Garage Residence – Puerto Real House – Iloilo City

The client is an extended family with four children with senior (grandparents).

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Bahay Kubo: The Quintessential Philippine House


Archian Design Architect Studio Iloilo - Cebu City

Bahay Kubo: The Quintessential Philippine House

The Filipino Bahay Kubo

The Filipino Bahay Kubo

Bahay kubo, kahit munti                      The kubo house, though small
ang halaman doon, ay sari-sari            The greens around, are variety
singkamas at talong. . .                        Jicama and eggplant . . .

The song bahay kubo sums up the simple life and beauty of the country life. For those not acquainted, the bahay kubo is the Filipino word for house. Read more of this post