Your house is not along the faultline. What now?

A friend linked to this blog article:
Obviously, the author has good intentions, although he is seemingly not an engineer (or maybe still a young engineer?). The impression I'm getting though is that the article is suggesting to check whether your house/property is along one of the published faultlines. If it is, you're obviously in danger. But it might also give the impression that if you are a good distance away, you probably shouldn't worry.


In the eye of Super Typhoon Yolanda

Well, not exactly. But pretty close -- this is a 12-minute compilation of videos taken by the folks at iCyclone.com of STY Yolanda's fury right in Tacloban City.

WARNING: You are risking your life when you try to do this. Technically, the city should have been evacuated already. When authorities (e.g. PAGASA) warn of an impending storm, follow their instructions! You might say that they been "wrong" before... But it's because this is nature we're talking about. No one can very accurately predict nature. We can only prepare for the worst.


Do we need to increase the code-required minimum design wind speed now after Yolanda?

The answer to this question is NO, there is no need to provide NEW wind load code requirements for higher wind speeds.


Response to students' questions on NSCP 2010 wind loading provisions

These are actually in the comments, but I thought I should promote them to a full post. The first asks about leeward wall pressures:
Are the values for the Leeward wall pz really constant with elevation?


Response to a reader question regarding using the NSCP for estimating wind loads on irregular shapes

A reader asked:
How would you evaluate the pressure coefficients for structures with irregular polygon shapes. An example would be those structures with a plan shape resembling the letters "W" or "K." Most of the pressure coefficients in the code are for uniform cross-sections such as circle, rectangle, square, and so on. I have my own approach on this (mostly based on engineering judgement), but I would like to hear first on a wind load aficionado, such as yourself.


2013-2014 1st Sem CE 197 Final Grades

Another semester has gone. I feel that this class has learned things that they wouldn't have otherwise been taught, and yet there is a lot more to know. Even I am still learning! What I did was I only penalized those who did not follow instructions, such as rounding off, etc., or those who did not even try at all. That said, complaints will not be entertained. These grades are final.


Response to a reader question on the damping estimation formulas in NSCP 2010 Section 207

A reader asked,
Equations 207-38 & 207-39 equate damping to 0.016/h and 0.23/h, respectively. However, Equation 207-40 equates damping to 0.007/n, in which h = height of structure, and n = natural frequency of the structure. Are Equations 207-38 & 207-39 correct, or should h be replaced by n?


Another NSCP 2010 Erratum

This one is actually a question asked by a former student.. from back in 2010! She says:
I came across with Method 1 - Simplified Procedure, and in Equation 207-2, pnet=lambda*Kzt*w*pnet9, where pnet9, as given in the definitions, is the net design wind pressure for Exposure B at h=9m and Iw from Figure 207-3. I turn to Figure 207-3, and in the label of Figures 207-3 it states that it is "pnet (Exposure B at h=10m with Iw=1.0 and Kzt=1.0)". My question is if the Figure 207-3 is already the net design wind pressure (pnet) or is it the pnet9 (net design wind pressure)? Also, if the values are for a 10m high building or 9m high building?


Some NSCP 2010 Section 207 Errata

If you have been using the NSCP 2010 wind loading provisions (Section 207), you have probably noticed already many typographical and other errors. I have only started to look at it more deeply recently, and here are some I noticed (and that readers have also pointed out):


Take Home Quiz ;-)

Note: This was updated on 9/17/13 at 8:00 PM.

This is a take home quiz that I gave my students 10 13 days to complete on their own. To encourage independent work, I based the parameters they were going to use on their "student numbers." If you are a practicing structural engineer, go ahead and choose from the values listed below and try to answer the questions yourself.


Presentation in front of ~2,000(?) Civil Engineering Undergrads at the 2013 National CE Symposium

The event was held on September 6, 2013 at the University Theater, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, and organized by the UP Association of Civil Engineering Students. I introduced the many different facets of wind engineering to these civil engineering undergrads from around the country. I think I did okay. :-)


An example problem on wind load calculation according to NSCP 2010 ;)

A 20-meter-high square-plan five-storey building with flat roof and 4m-high floors, located in Makati CBD, has sides of 10 meters length each, and a large open front door on the first floor that is 2m x 2m in dimension. Assuming that G = 0.85 and that torsion is negligible,
  1. Show how this maybe is an open, partially enclosed, or enclosed building.
  2. Determine the internal pressure coefficients.
  3. Determine the external pressure coefficients for the design of main girders and shear walls.
  4. Determine the base reactions due to along-wind loads acting on the front wall of the building.


IBM to donate supercomputer to PAGASA

The DOST announced that IBM will donate a supercomputer to PAGASA. The meteorological agency will purportedly use it with more advanced modelling software to account for general climate conditions in the country for the next 5 to 10 years, and to improve their weather forecasting, being able to anticipate typhoons up to 7 days before it might affect the country as opposed to the maximum 3 days advanced forecasting they are able to do with current resources.


"iTyphoon" app for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Nokia devices

From the developer's app description:
"iTyphoon is a mobile application that provides typhoon updates to Filipinos and the world, free!"
Download it via this iTunes link for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:


More papers on Typhoon/Wind Engineering in the Philippines

These are links to papers/reports I was a co-author of, that are rather useful for typhoon/wind engineering education in the Philippines as well.


Presentation at 2013 PICE National Midyear Convention

On June 28, 2013, I went to Subic Bay to present a paper entitled "How to estimate 'site-specific wind loads?'" at the 2013 National Midyear Convention of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers. It is essentially a more formal paper version of an article I posted here on this blog earlier. The full video of the presentation is below. (Note: The slides are in English but the presentation itself is in Filipino.)


A report I prepared back in 2005: for #ThrowbackThursday ?

Back in 2005, I was a Short-Term Fellow under what was then the 21st Century Center of Excellence Program (on Wind Effects on Buildings and Urban Environment) at Tokyo Polytechnic University, Atsugi, Japan. As part of the requirements during that two-month stint in Japan, I was asked to prepare a report that shows typhoon/wind damages and wind speed information for the Philippines. I also took it as a chance to prepare a document that could be used as a starting point for those (Filipinos, particularly) asking the question of whether they should even study typhoon/wind engineering, why, and is there anything they could use now (i.e. what have people actually done). Of course, many things have already happened since 2005, but I still see this as pretty good material -- I am using the material in it as an introduction to this wind engineering class lecture that I am currently delivering to undergraduate civil engineering majors at the University of the Philippines. I hope this becomes indeed of some use in our quest to "mitigate if not totally eliminate" typhoon/wind damages in the country.

You can download the Main Report (14.6Mb) from this link:
And the full Appendices (30.0Mb):


Detroit DIYer cooks up stronger, lighter steel... shames scientists?

Read this article on Engadget from back in 2011 first.

The non-(civil-)engineers, of course, are in high praise for the "little guy" one-upping the "big guys" (i.e. the scientists). Because, sure, stronger and lighter steel is good. And faster production time.

But hey, a DIYer discovering something is also almost effectively a scientist. An accidental one, maybe. But yeah, journalism is about sensationalization, so, framing it like he's "one of us" and not one of those stupid people who studied for years to get a PhD and did whatever else in his career who can't even discover this thing -- that's good for a journalistic publication. Touches people's emotions, certainly.


Response to a Reader Question... from 2007! About Billboards.

The e-mailer asked:
I was wondering if we could discuss billboards of the flexible type? I am a BS Geography student finishing my thesis right now and trying to find resource persons or key informants.
My thesis is about the hazards the billboards pose to human life and property. In line with my recommendations part, I wanted to seek alternatives on billboards, if not alternatives for the laws for it. Since I see that billboards can not really be wiped out, due to its economic contributions to the LGU or National government, your concepts are deemed vital.
The initial plan I have in mind is to interview you RE solutions we could make if and when billboards can not be banned totally.
Billboards proved to be something that can affect adversely the lives and properties of people. As a social scientist, I saw it very interesting to tackle but not really focus on the technical aspects of it. Flexibility is understood as a solution to the social problem.  
I replied:


Wind-Induced Vibrations Damage Pedestrian Bridge

"The first cable-stayed bridge in Minnesota——a 686 ft dedicated bicycle and pedestrian crossing over a busy six-lane road in Minneapolis——was greeted with fanfare when it opened in 2007. But on February 19, 2012, two of the cables detached from the Martin Olav Sabo Pedestrian Bridge when the cable diaphragm plate holding them to the main pylon fractured and a portion of the plate fell to the ground... A new report has determined that wind-induced vibrations caused the failure of a cable diaphragm plate."


Framework for structural damping predictor models based on stick-slip mechanism for use in wind-resistant design of buildings

Article to be published in the June 2013 issue (Vol. 117, pp. 25-37) of the Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics. It was published online on 12 May 2013. Co-authored by yours truly and my former PhD supervisor at Tokyo Polytechnic University and current International Association for Wind Engineering president, Prof. Yukio Tamura.


On stick-slip phenomenon as primary mechanism behind structural damping in wind-resistant design applications

Article published in the April 2013 issue (Vol. 115, pp. 121-136) of the Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics. It was published online on 5 March 2013. Co-authored by yours truly and my former PhD supervisor at Tokyo Polytechnic University and current International Association for Wind Engineering president, Prof. Yukio Tamura.



Not the smartest thing I've heard from a relatively very senior structural engineer... [UPDATED]

Talking to a group of wind engineers, a structural engineer with years of experience in structural design said:
"Can't you people reduce the wind loads? The columns on core walls in our 400-meter tall or higher buildings are 1.5 meters thick wide. These are too big."*
I've said it before, but I'll say it again: experience does not equal expertise.

* Note: This is not a verbatim quote.


6.5 hours of videos during the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011

Check 'em all out at this website:


Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected, especially those who are, to this day, still suffering due to this tragic event.


I *want* this wind visualization app!

It is very useful for education purposes. Or as a screensaver. :D  But it's too expensive for me. $0.99. Hehe. :D


Urban Heat Islands, and Reclamation on Manila Bay: Unsustainable Development?

The so-called "Urban Heat Island Effect" is not yet a very common concept in the Philippines, mainly because we Filipinos all just understand that it's generally hot in our country. We are in the tropics, after all. Average daily highs are at least 30 degrees, and that's not yet accounting for humidity which makes it feel at least 4 degrees warmer.


How do we get "Site-Specific Wind Loads" in the Philippines?

I was asked this question, and here is how I would answer it.

In the structural engineering community especially in my home country, the interest and knowledge in earthquake engineering and earthquake-resistant design has grown rapidly over the past two decades especially after the 1990 Luzon Earthquake. Some of the recent "buzz words," if I may use that term, in the community are "site-specific seismic hazard assessment," and "performance-based seismic design."


Amplitude-dependent model of structural damping in buildings based on stick-slip mechanism for use in wind-resistant design

On February 9, 2013, I successfully "publicly" defended my PhD dissertation on the topic mentioned above. I will soon be posting the full dissertation manuscript once it is final. I requested my friend to take a video of the whole presentation, including the question-and-answer portion at the end, as well as closing remarks by my PhD supervisor. The video is shown below.


A tragic event due to faulty construction?

Check out the video on this link: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1817415148842. (Thanks to my friend VIR for sharing the link.) The tragedy is not even due to an earthquake, other natural disasters, nor even a terrorist attack.

My friend ponders, is it the designer's or the contractor's fault?