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Earthquake resistance for structures in Sabah

posted Sep 9, 2018, 7:26 AM by jeffery jim

I just read an interesting journal authored by R. Ismail, A. Adnan and A. Ibrahim (2011) entitled "Vulnerability of Public Buildings in Sabah Subjected to Earthquake by Finite Element Modelling."

From the eight (8) structures studied, most of the structures are able to withstand up to 0.20g or 200GAL which is relatively significant when it comes to MS EN 1998-1:2005 Eurocode 8: Design of structures for earthquake resistance - Part 1: General rules, seismic actions and rules for buildings (which is limited up to 0.16g or 160GAL).

Sadly, there are two structures which will not withstand (breached ultimate limit state) or even collapse in such event and a structure would lapse the serviceable limit. These structures collapsed due to formation of plastic hinge at their beams. At 0.15g, only one structure succumbed high structural damages.

Another resource entitled "Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessment of Bridges, Dams and Tunnels in Malaysia - Collaboration of UTM, UiTM and USM" indicates that one of the oldest major bridges will only lapse its serviceable limit state due to cracking when experiencing 0.19g. How does these local bridges perform in comparison to KL Monorail using prestressed construction and Rapid KL using box girder? Both of these bridges in KL will experience cracking at 0.13g which perform similar to Papar steel (warren) bridge at 0.12g.

The former resident engineer for that project decades ago (and now a renown bridge designer) who is close to 80 years old once told me that bridge was designed based on high seismic loading of the Philippines or technically can accommodate MTAL WRO2003 and withstand 0.12g - 475 years (based on the recent analysis).

For now, I can assume that the structural capacity of our structures are reasonably robust in Sabah. Apart from that, I reckon that the choice of study is limited to normal design structures. Researchers should add the KWSP building and the MUIS building at Kota Kinabalu as part of their study since both of these structures were designed and constructed by the Japanese and rated as earthquake-resistant back in the 80s. I saw the building plan for MUIS when I conducted structural integrity appraisal and I am super impressed.