Earthquake-resistant features in SDB’s Park Seven

KUALA LUMPUR: While others ask whether developers should start developing buildings with earthquake-resistant features in Malaysia, Selangor Dredging Bhd (SDB) already has one to show.

Its high-rise development Park Seven, completed in 2008, is believed to be the first structurally earthquake-resistant residential building in the country.

SDB managing director Teh Lip Kim told that the idea came about after the devastating seismic activities in what is now known as the Sunda Trench on Dec 24, 2004, which resulted in tremors felt in various parts of Peninsular Malaysia and the tragic tsunami event that affected various countries.

Following the latest earthquake that hit neighbouring Padang in Sumatra, Indonesia two evenings ago, there have been reports that cracks have appeared on five high-rise buildings in the Klang Valley.

“SDB Properties was proactive to the situation and consulted its engineers on the seismic structural study for Park Seven, despite the fact that Malaysia is not located in the area zoned for any level of seismic activity. We decided to walk the extra mile in making Park Seven a structurally earthquake-resistant building and thus, safer. The feature was added on after the project was launched at no extra cost to the purchasers,” Teh
said. The developer spent an additional “several millions” for this special feature.

Park Seven is designed to withstand the horizontal forces of an earthquake. Specifically designed structural elements in the form of an innovative seismic knee joint detail and reinforcements were introduced into the building structure design. Teh said the development meets the stringent requirements of the Indonesian Seismic Code. This is a strict code that is over and above those stipulated in the relevant British Standards.

Engineers carried out simulation and “re-located” the Park Seven building from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta, and subjected it to earthquake static loads that the building would experience. “Kuala Lumpur is located over 1,100km further from the Sunda Trench than Jakarta and displacement caused by earthquakes diminishes rapidly as the distance from the epicentre increases. The study found the building to be structurally sound,” she added.

SDB does not plan to implement this special feature to its other developments. As a developer, Teh said, it will rely on the engineering authorities of the country to decide whether buildings in the country need to have such special features.

As of 1pm on Oct 2, there have been reports of 529 confirmed deaths since the 7.9 magnitude quake on Sept 30, with over 2,000 injured and 2,600 buildings damaged. Many more are feared trapped under the debris.

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