A Phivolcs guide to safe home construction

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2014 03:15 PM | Updated as of Feb 20 2014 11:15 PM

MANILA - The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) will start releasing flyers that will contain questions to assess if people's homes can withstand natural calamities.

In an interview on DZMM's "Sakto!", Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said the questionnaire was made with professional engineers to aid regular citizens in assessing the structure of their own homes.

"[Ito] ay para mabigyan natin ng kaalaman ang mga ordinaryong mamamayan sa ano ba ang dapat bantayan or tignan sa mga aspeto ng bahay upang makasiguro sa ating kaligtasan. [Ang kaligtasan ng pamilya ay] nakasalalay sa bahay mismo," he said.

The 12 points listed covers questions from what materials were used to who designed and supervised the construction of the house or building.

The Phivolcs chief said licensed architects should be hired to design or supervise the project construction.

"Kung ang nagdisenyo ay isang licensed architect, mas alam nila at napag-aralan ang tamang preparasyon. [It must be] always guided ng expert."

He shared that during inspections conducted by Phivolcs, they discovered a number of instances where the materials used to build the foundation of the houses were sub-par, or does not meet the standards required to make them safe during earthquakes.

"[Sa] pag-iinspect [namin] ng mga bahay, ang mga ordinaryong mamamayan maraming gumagamit ng 6mm na bakal, [kahit na ang minimum ay 10mm.]

He also said structures that went through expansions or extensions have higher tendency to fall during earthquakes or strong winds.

"Habang humahaba ang bahay, ay mas may tendency na paiba-iba ang kilos ang bahagi ng bahay. Pero mas madalas nating makita ay iyong extension, pa-vertical na iyong dating isang floor lang, ginagawang second floor. So mabigat, doon madalas bumagsak ang mga bahay na walang tulong mula sa mga inhinyero," he said.

However, he shared that it does not make a difference whether the house is multi-storey or a bungalow type.

All types of structures are exposed to earthquakes and its saving grace will be dependent on how well the foundations were constructed.

"Lahat po ng building, mababa o mataas, ay exposed po sa lindol. Kapag hindi maayos ang pagkakagawa, maaaring maapektuhan ng mga lindol. [Sa] structural elements na nagdadala ng bigat nagmumula ang tibay ng bahay."