Simpson Strong-Tie Build Change Fellow Visits Manila

This week’s post was written by James P. Mwangi, Ph.D., P.E., S.E. — our first annual Simpson Strong-Tie Engineering Excellence Fellow with Build Change. As part of his fellowship he’s been submitting reports about his work supporting the Build Change initiative. This is the last in a series of four.

This is the last of my blog posts pertaining to the Engineering Excellence Fellowship with Build Change. I spent the entire period of this quarter in Manila, Philippines.

This was a very busy period. Among my activities were the following:

  • Conducting a presentation for the Philippines team about my previous experience with Build Change and my previous experience in safe building retrofit programs in emerging countries.
  • Reviewing and making comments on Build Change Philippines construction package documents that included seismic evaluation checklists, specifications, drawings and details.
  • Development of a draft Retrofit Card for one-story unreinforced masonry residential buildings in Philippines.
  • Conducting hands-on training for the Build Change technical team and the contractors in Pembo, Manila, about the consistency needed for mortar, and guiding the block layers on the expected quality of bed and head joints. Field experimentation in placing steel ladder wire joint reinforcement was conducted; this is a new concept that could result in more cost-effective wall construction.
  • Presenting a technical paper, “Mitigating Natural Events to Avoid Disaster in Public School Buildings: Seismic Retrofitting of SDN 42 Korong Gadang,” at the International Conference on Disaster Management 2018, at Andalas University, Padang, Indonesia.
  • Performing structural observations of the ongoing construction site of the five-classroom building “D” of SDN 42 Korong Gadang, Padang, Indonesia. This was the building whose retrofit scheme I helped design during my previous deployment in Indonesia.
  • Traveling to Masbate, Philippines, to perform structural observation of Tagpu High School five-classroom building at the request of Build Change’s partner organization, Plan International. A report was prepared and submitted to Plan International.
  • Helping the technical teams in Philippines and Indonesia to prepare and submit abstracts for a technical presentation at the 7th Asia Conference on Earthquake Engineering, to be held November 22–24, 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Helping to respond to peer review comments on a paper submitted to Structure Magazine for their September 2018 issue.
  • Making a trip to Salcedo, Eastern Samar, to visit a site for the new Salcedo Senior High School at the invitation of Build Change’s partner, Plan International.
  • Participating in meetings with Build Change’s Plan International to prepare a proposal for the design of two two-story, six-classroom buildings, a covered activity space (with bleachers and cafeteria) and a covered walkway for the new Salcedo Senior High School.
  • Meeting with the president of the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP) to discuss the possibility of a partnership between the Association and Build Change in developing national design guidelines for the new construction or rehabilitation of one- and two-story unreinforced masonry residential buildings. ASEP develops national building codes for the Philippines, and this type of building is not addressed in the current codes.
  • Meeting with the director of the Building Research Center (BRC) at the University of Philippines in Diliman to discuss possibility of a partnership between the Research Center and Build Change in developing material testing to help in the development of national design guidelines for the new construction or rehabilitation of one- and two-story unreinforced masonry residential buildings.
  • Helping to prepare a capsule proposal for local material testing and the development of national design guidelines for new construction and rehabilitation of one- and two-story unreinforced masonry residential buildings. The proposal was submitted to the Philippines Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
  • Researching retrofit methods and their possible evaluation for one- and two-story reinforced concrete frames with hollow concrete block infill in residential buildings.
  • Traveling to Pleasanton to do videotaping at the Simpson Strong-Tie office for marketing of the Fellowship and to brief senior management on my experiences as the first Fellow.
  • Recreation, including a trip about 30 miles south of Manila to the Philippines’ second-most active volcano, Taal Volcano; a trip to Subic Bay, about 100 miles northwest of Manila and 20 miles south of Mount Pinatubo; and a snorkeling trip to Puerto Galera, about 80 miles south of Manila, on the island of Mindoro.
Field visit: Carl, Adam, James and Nicholas (left to right).
James providing field training to the Build Change technical team and contractors.
Wall construction contrast: two lower courses before training, two upper courses after training.
At the International Conference on Disaster Management in Padang: Mia, Ani and James (left to right).
Construction observation at the SDN 42 site in Padang.
At construction observation of Tagpu High School in Masbate, Philippines, with two teachers and two Plan International team members.
In Salcedo, Eastern Samar, at new high school site visit.
In Salcedo, Eastern Samar, at new high school site visit.
Meeting with ASEP president: Danilo and James (left), Kate and Carl (right).
Meeting with Dr. Germar, UP: Carl and Rex (left), Dr. Germar, Kate and James (right).
At UP, Diliman: Carl and James
Taal Volcano trip: Nicolas, Marvin, Bernice, James and Evi (left to right).
Taal Volcano trip: James, Marvin, Evi, Bernice and Nicolas (left to right).
Snorkeling at Puerto Galera.

Since this is my last post about my Fellowship year, if you would like more information about the Fellowship or my participation, please don’t hesitate to contact me at jmwangi@calpoly.edu.