Houses and structures that adhere to the building code and scored high in the test are said to be strong enough to withstand powerful quakes.
The recent Nepal earthquake has made the entire country on high alert for a fault line that can produce similar destruction in the Philippine capital. Phivolcs and the Philippine media are calling this the “Big One,” a 7.2 intensity quake caused by the West Valley fault line which is known to move every 400 years.
It has only been 357 years, but the government is already taking measures to soften the blow in case the earthquake indeed strikes during our lifetime. On top of its aggressive information campaign, Phivolcs is also sharing a 12-point checklist for citizens to determine the strength and quality of their homes. It was crafted by Phivolcs and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The full material can be accessed on the Phivolcs website.
The questionnaire covers several construction criteria:
• The builder and designer of the house. If a civil engineer and architect worked on your home, then there is a greater chance that it adheres to the country’s building code.
• The house’s “age.” Structures built before 1992 may be following outdated building codes which do not follow the more recent cover earthquake-resistant building standards. Houses that have been expanded without the guidance of the proper authority may also be at risk.
• The house’s damages. Houses that are damaged and have not been repaired are partially weakened and can easily be destroyed by strong earthquakes.
• The house’s general structure and materials. The shape of the house, including the materials used and their sizes , matter when it comes to the safety of the structure. The walls, steel bars, and the concrete hollow blocks should also be scrutinized.
Below are the items' screenshots from Phivolcs questionnaire:
Houses and structures that adhere to the building code and scored high in the test are said to be strong enough to withstand powerful quakes. If your house’s points are lower, the checklist also has recommendations on what actions to take to help citizens get started with strengthening their homes. Phivolcs also strongly suggests that homeowners inspect their houses with authorized experts to assess and ensure that the structuring and material are adequate.
If you’d like to see the full material of Phivolcs 12-point checklist, click here.
Be prepared for when the earthquake, or any disaster for that matter, strikes. You can refer to these MyProperty articles to start: