Construction

Construction

Philippine Resources - June 09, 2021

CLLEX up to Aliaga will open this July

Photo Credit: Department of Public Works and Highways Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar expressed confidence that the Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) will be an efficient alternate route for the motoring public going to Nueva Ecija when it opens next month. Despite work slowdown due to the pandemic, the first 18-kilometer segment of CLLEX will be of service to motorists from SCTEX/TPLEX connection in Tarlac City up to the intersection of Aliaga-Guimba Road in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija this July 2021, declared Secretary Villar. Secretary Villar said that contract packages 1 and 2 covering Tarlac Section and Rio Chico River Bridge Section having a combined length of 10.5 kilometers are already completed while construction of 9.2 kilometers contract package 3 - Aliaga Section is 87 percent finished. Secretary Villar together with Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil K. Sadain and Region 3 Director Roseller Tolentino personally checked on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 the project’s progress which already has an overall accomplishment of 94 percent, making sure that the road is built with quality construction materials and specifications. Construction of the ₱11.811 Billion road project funded by loan with Japan International Cooperation Agency is implemented by UPMO-Roads Management Cluster 1 headed by OIC Project Director Benjamin C. Bautista. In his report to Secretary Villar, Undersecretary Sadain said that the delivery of right of way (ROW) requirements are being fast-tracked, with the assistance of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for expropriation complaints and other ROW-related cases. “We are hopeful that we will finally secure full site possession of the remaining required ROW to allow our construction activities to go on full throttle”, added Undersecretary Sadain. Expropriation proceedings with the appropriate court were initiated for properties whose owners were unable to grant the request to donate or accept price offer for negotiated sale within a given timeframe. More available ROW and favorable weather conditions will enable DPWH to catch up and finish the 10.3-kilometer Contract Package 4 - Cabanatuan Section which is now 88 percent completed. Meanwhile, the Zaragoza Interchange Section under Contract Package 5 is at 26 percent which involves construction of 113 meters Zaragoza Interchange Bridge, 4.88 kilometers access road, two (2) pre-stressed concrete deck girder bridge with a total length of 19.4 meters, five (5) reinforced concrete box culverts for equalizer and farm passage, and seven (7) irrigation canals. Once fully completed, the 30-kilometer CLLEX will shorten the usual travel time of 70 minutes between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City to just 20 minutes. This new expressway will also form an important east-west link for the expressway network of Central Luzon to ensure a continuous seamless traffic flow for the motoring public from Metro Manila and vice versa passing thru NLEX, SCTEX/TPLEX.   Article Courtesy of the Department of Public Works and Highways

Construction

Philippine Resources - June 09, 2021

Terminal 2 of Clark International Airport to Open in July

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade led a recent inspection of the New Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) of Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga. The inspection conducted is part of the preparation for the upcoming opening of the new CRK Terminal. With Luzon International Premiere Airport Development (FLIPAD) Corporation President Bi Yong Chungunco, personally circulated by Sec. Tugade inside the new terminal to see construction progress. Secretary Tugade is also with DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, to discuss the layout of the map route alignment for the North-South Commuter Railway Extension (NSCREx) project that will connect to CRK underground station. On July 2021, the new airport terminal for domestic operations is set to be launched, which will be followed by the opening of international operations in September 2021. It's estimated that it will be up to 12.2 million passengers who can service the new terminal will be open and full scale operations, triple the number compared to the current 4.2 million passengers it serves every year (before the pandemic). This project will help a lot in the long term economic growth of the country, tourism growth, especially in providing employment and other opportunities for our countrymen. In fact, more than 1,600 workers have also been given the opportunity to be part of the project in the midst of the pandemic and it is expected that the number of jobs will be increased by the time the new terminal of Clark International Airport project is finished. "You wait and see a real 'world class' terminal. It's coming up, it's coming up in Clark. Thanks to LIPAD, the men and women of Clark International Airport are really very good," galak na pahayag ni Secretary Tugade. DOTr Assistant Secretary for Aviation and Airports Jim Melo, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Chief of Staff and Airport Projects Team Head Atty. Danjun Lucas, and other representatives from FLIPAD Corp.   Article Courtesy of the Department of Transport

Construction

Philippine Resources - June 04, 2021

DPWH Prepares for Independence Day Opening of Sta Monica-Lawton Bridge

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will soon open a new road network passing business and industrial hubs of Pasig City, Makati City and Taguig City in a bid to ease decades-old EDSA travel woes. Secretary Mark Villar said that access ramps of the Sta. Monica-Lawton Bridge, a major component of the Bonifacio Global City - Ortigas Center Road Link Project, are already completed. With the completion of both up-ramp and down-ramp near Kalayaan Avenue, we will be able to achieved the target partial opening by June 12 of the four-lane two-way Sta. Monica-Lawton Bridge, added Secretary Villar. Secretary Villar together with Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil K. Sadain inspected on Thursday, May 6, 2021 the BGC - Ortigas Center Road Link Project which will soon be an alternate corridor from EDSA and C-5 along the section of Guadalupe Bridge and Bagong Ilog Bridge, allowing more economic opportunities. In his report to Secretary Villar, Undersecretary Sadain said that once the punch listing activities are done, the asphalt overlay of bridge deck surface, the up and down ramps, and abutment 1 will commence by last week of May 2021 in time for the Independence Day partial opening of this high-impact infrastructure project which is part of EDSA Decongestion Master Plan. The asphalt concrete overlays will protect the bridge and road pavement from water permeation, flexural fatigue, rutting and shoving, added Undersecretary Sadain. Implemented by UPMO Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral) headed by OIC-Project Director Benjamin Bautista and supervised by Project Manager Ricarte Mañalac, the BGC - Ortigas Center Road Link Project is targetted for full completion by September. The cantilever box girder bridge is already fully completed with sidewalk, parapet, double arms street light and drainage pipe, with some actitivities for the median barrier. Improvement thru widening of the connecting roads from the start of the project to Pier 5 at Pasig City side particularly the 228 meters Brixton Street and 248 meters Fairlane Street were also undertaken while finishing touches is on-going at the 159 meters abutment 1 particularly on its drainage and manholes, median, sidewalk and parapet. Meanwhile, all the 76 pieces of pre-stressed concrete girder for the Lawton to Kalayaan or Section 3 viaduct from Pier 9 to 18 are completed and with deck slab laid with steel for portland cement concrete pouring. Launching of three out of four bored piles for Section 4 - Pier 19 to end of project along 8th Avenue of BGC were completed with continuous fabrication and installation of reinforcements of pre-stressed girder.

Place your Ad Here!

Construction

Philippine Resources - June 04, 2021

Tunneling Works for Davao City Bypass Road to Start by July

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is about to roll out the construction of two (2) 2.3 kilometer tunnel which corresponds to the central portion of the Davao City Bypass Construction Project in Southern Mindanao financed by Official Development Assistance (ODA) of the Government of Japan thru Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Secretary Mark Villar said that essential machinery have started to arrive in the Philippines for the road tunnel construction which is expected to develop Filipino skilled workers with new technical know-how. In his report to Secretary Villar, Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil K. Sadain said that tunneling works using specialized equipment such as drill jumbo, concrete spraying machine, and articulated dump hauler is targetted to commence by first week of July 2021. Four (4) units of drill jumbo and four (4) units of concrete spraying machine will simultaneously work at the north and south portal to complete two (2) 2.3 kilometer-long tunnels with a height of 8 meters and a width of 10 meters through the new Austrian tunneling method or sprayed concrete lining method, added Undersecretary Sadain. The tunnel is part of Contract Package 1-1 covering 10.7 kilometer of four (4) lane highway awarded in the amount of P13.230 Billion to the joint venture companies of Shimizu Corporation, Ulticon Builders Inc., and Takenaka Civil Engineering & Construction Co, Ltd.. The contract package with 37 months duration also covers the construction of bridges in three (3) locations and a 7.9 kilometer long cut and fill road. During the recent project coordination meeting with Undersecretary Sadain and UPMO Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral) OIC Project Director Benjamin Bautista, Mr. Shinichi Matsumoto representing the joint venture firm said that the construction of access roads are already at 60 percent in preparation for the tunnel excavation. Secretary Villar said that despite the major challenges encountered relative to the Covid-19 pandemic, Davao City Bypass Construction Project has secured Japan ODA financing with a Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) Loan from JICA under Loan Agreement Nos. PH-P261 and PH-P273 signed in June 2020. The entire bypass road with a total length of 45.5 kilometer is divided into six (6) packages: package I-1 (10.7 km), package I-2 (12.8 km), package I-3 (6.1 km), package II-1 (2.7 km), package II-2 (3.5 km), and package II-3 (9.7 km). Starting from Davao-Digos section of the Pan-Philippine Highway in Brgy Sirawan, Davao City going to Davao-Panabo section of the Pan-Philippine Highway in Brgy J.P. Laurel, Panabo City, the bypass road project will mitigate congestions in Davao City with the travel time of 1 hour and 44 minutes via Pan-Philippine Highway Diversion Road to be reduced into 49 minutes.

Construction

Philippine Resources - June 04, 2021

Expressway Connecting Tarlac-Cabanatuan Now 94 Percent Completed

The four (4)-lane 30 kilometer expressway project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) connecting Tarlac City, Tarlac to Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija is now 94 percent completed. Secretary Mark A. Villar said that the first 18 kilometer section of the ₱11.811 Billion Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) Project funded by loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will soon be accessible to motoring public. From the connection of SCTEX and TPLEX in Balingcanaway, Tarlac City, the contract packages covering Tarlac Section and Rio Chico River Bridge Section with a total length of 10.5 kilometers were fully completed while construction of 9.2 kilometers Aliaga Section of the expressway is 87 percent finished. DPWH Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil K. Sadain, UPMO-Roads Management Cluster 1 OIC-Project Director Benjamin Bautista, and technical staff of Secretary Villar led by Engr. Rodel Racadio inspected on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 the expressway project which will shorten the usual travel time of 70 minutes between Tarlac City and Cabanatuan City to just 20 minutes. CLLEX up to the intersection of Aliaga-Guimba Road in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija is supposedly finished and partially opened second quarter of 2021 but was hampered by encountering work restrictions. In his report to Secretary Villar, Undersecretary Sadain said that despite best efforts by the project contractors, partial opening of CLLEX has to moved from May to July after work suspension were issued for the on-going contract packages in compliance to the construction safety guidelines to mitigate and suppress transmission of COVID-19 infection. For about 40 days from April 7 to May 16, civil work activities were stalled at Contract Package 3 - Aliaga Section and Contract Package 5 - Zaragoza Interchange Section as the pandemic has hit several labor force in the project and workers have to met the requirement by Aliaga Municipal Health Center Management for health clearance based on test, added Undersecretary Sadain. With load restriction on local roads, embankment materials and aggregates also have to reached the site using the 45 kilometer Tarlac-Quezon and 36 kilometer Cabanatuan-Quezon access routes for hauling in order not to delay the delivery of critical resources. Meanwhile, the 10.3 kilometers Contract Package 4 - Cabanatuan Section is 88 percent completed with works currently progressing in areas with newly acquired writ of possession issued by branches of Regional Trial Court as renegotiations and legal expropriations with other involved property owners are being done to fully acquire needed road right of way. Contract Package 5 is at 26 percent which involves construction of 113 meters Zaragoza Interchange Bridge, 4.88 kilometers access road, two (2) pre-stressed concrete deck girder bridge with a total length of 19.4 meters, five (5) reinforced concrete box culverts for equalizer and farm passage, and seven (7) irrigation canals. This CLLEX Project when completed will facilitate fast, safe, comfortable and reliable means of transport in Central Luzon as it form an important east-west link for the expressway network of Region 3 to ensure a continuous seamless traffic flow for the motoring public from Metro Manila and vice versa passing thru  NLEX, SCTEX/TPLEX.

Construction

Marcelle P. Villegas - April 01, 2021

Fly Ash as an Eco-Friendly Building Material

Fly ash is making its mark in the construction industry due to its eco-friendly features. It is possible for this building material to lessen air pollution in the long run? Coal is a natural dark brown or black sedimentary rock with graphite-like appearance. It is primarily used as fuel. It is composed of solid organic materials with some mineral components. It is formed from the accumulation of plant remains in sedimentary basin, and is altered to solid rock by heat and pressure during the basin’s development. The quality of coal varies according to the content of ash, impurities, and volatile matter which decreases as coal rank gets higher. Types of coal according to increasing rank (in terms of hardness, purity and heating value) are peat, lignite, subbituminous, bituminous and anthracite. Although coal is a major source of fuel and electricity through the years, in most environmental forums, coal is notorious for being responsible for a third of carbon monoxide emission worldwide from coal combustion. In other words, it is considered as the biggest contributor of global warming. [1] According to Department of Energy, the Philippines heavily relies on coal -- 44.5% of our power generation mix comes from coal. Worldwide, coal is an in-demand energy source and is often the cheapest fuel option. Coal demand in the Philippines is not only for power generation. In 2015, the cement industry used 15.22% of the country’s coal supply where 5% of the supply is used in the manufacturing of alcohol, sinter, rubber boots, paper, fertilizer production, chemical manufacturing, and smelting processes. [2] However useful and reliable as a fuel source and hydrocarbon source for industrial use, coal consumption needs to be monitored in order to prevent further air pollution. There are companies like GNPower who adopted green technologies in their coal power plant in Mariveles, Bataan. With the availability of clean coal technologies, the demand for coal remained steady despite environmental concerns of skeptics. But in general, the Philippines is largely a coal consuming country. [2] More on coal and green technologies, there are now clever innovations with coal that lessens its harmful impacts on the environment. One example is a solution made with one of coal’s byproducts called the “fly ash”. The irony is, one of the most harmful compounds on Earth also produces one of the largest green material resources in the construction industry.  The idea was explored in a study done by Mohammad Nadeem Akhtar and Nazia Tarannum. They published “Flyash as a Resource Material in Construction Industry: A Clean Approach to Environmental Management” on on 29 December 2018. They described how fly ash can lessen air pollution. In their study, Akhtar and Tarannum explained the properties of fly ash, its origin, its usefulness, and how utilizing it is a solution to waste management. “The maximum amount of electricity is produced by most of the thermal power plants by burning coal at their operating facilities. Due to this activity, various types of secondary materials are generated. Any material resulting from coal-combustion processes may be called as a coal-combustion product (CCP). Among different CCPs reported worldwide by coal-burning power plants, fly ash is the most common one. As per the characterization report, flyash is considered as a powdery material being collected by dust collectors installed in the thermal power plants with the use of coal as fuel. There are different problems related to fly ash like requirement of large area of land for disposal and toxicity caused by flyash which leach to groundwater. The study has established flyash as air and water pollution source. It is considered as waste that may act as a resource material in construction industry, thereby acting as a resource for waste and environment management. Till a decade back, flyash was treated as waste material worldwide, but now it is developed as an environment savior.” [4] Fly ash is a byproduct of burning coal. It is a siliceous and aluminous material which is on its own does not have the characteristics of cement. However, once we “combine it with moisture in a finely divided form”, it changes and becomes like cement. Thus, it can be used as a substitute for concrete. [3] Why is it eco-friendly? In the past when environmental practices were not yet standardized and monitored, fly ash was merely released to the air when coal is burned. This is indeed a harmful practice that contributed to air pollution. Imagine large amounts of heavy metals in the ash that is released in the atmosphere. Eventually, with the development of air quality monitoring and establishment of air pollution regulations, factories are now required to dispose fly ash properly and to use it for a second purpose. Fly ash is recycled by most construction professionals by adding lime and water. This becomes a cement substitute similar to Portland cement. The process of recycling fly ash helps reduce the carbon footprint in the utilization of coal. As a building material, fly ash has impressive workability and durability properties to concrete. It reduces its water demand by 10%. It also has spherical particles which acts as lubricants which improves paste flow. These are just some of the important features of fly ash which are useful in the production of blended cement. It is also considered an eco-friendly binder for construction. [3] Are there known disadvantages of using fly ash in the construction industry? Since fly ash comes from a toxic source, some critics have safety concerns about its use. Plus, leaching of toxic chemicals could contaminate the air and cause health problems to those nearby. However, there has been no major scientific discoveries or medical studies yet that proved of such adverse effects. Therefore, fly ash is still widely used in the cement industry to this day. According to Pinoy Builders website, “The bottomline is it’s important that more sustainable innovations such as fly ash concrete or rice husk ash cement substitutes are developed. As global warming continues to loom over us, the construction industry can play an important hand in combating the crisis.” [3]   References: [1] Retrieved from - https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global-warming/issues/coal/ [2] https://www.doe.gov.ph/coal-overview?ckattempt=1 [3] (21 Jan. 2021). Pinoy Builders. “Fly Ash: An Eco-Friendly Solution to Lessen Air Pollution” Retrieved from: https://pinoybuilders.ph/fly-ash-an-eco-friendly-solution-to-lessen-air-pollution/?fbclid=IwAR35JcaahO3sd9FjvhwJwKnZHNWzgdyITRfI1Q6C52nQ3HqKLKIor0dURUk [4] https://www.intechopen.com/books/sustainable-construction-and-building-materials/flyash-as-a-resource-material-in-construction-industry-a-clean-approach-to-environment-management

Place your Ad Here!

Construction

Marcelle P. Villegas - December 16, 2020

Test runs at max speed and other development for MRT-3

By Marcelle P. Villegas The newly overhauled MRT-3 train was tested by running it at a maximum speed of 50 kph. Here is a view from the driver’s compartment on MRT-3 during test run last 29 October 2020. (Screenshot from Department of Transportation video) MRT-3 or the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 conducted test runs on its first newly overhauled train. The train was tested to run at a maximum speed of 50 kph. According to Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran, the train is composed of three cars which was overhauled by Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The company is the maintenance provider of MRT-3. The test run was documented in a video blog of DOTr. Libiran said, “As part of the massive rehab and maintenance of Sumitomo from Japan, we can now overhaul train cars that have been long neglected and now, we are repairing them under the Duterte administration.” According to MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael Capati, aside from the three newly overhauled train cars, the MRT-3 also plans to overhaul the remaining 72 cars by July 2021. “In the past years, our trains broke down plenty of times. Now, one of the things Sumitomo is doing is to rehabilitate and do a general overhaul of our trains.” Capati mentioned that the MRT-3 management wants its trains to run at 50 kph by November 2020. [1] He said, “We have already increased our train operating speed to 30 kph to 40 kph in October. Now we are using this train to simulate a 50 kph operating speed, which we are hoping to implement by November.” Capati noted that the improved train speed was made possible by the overhaul of train cars and the rail replacements that were completed last September. He also said that MRT-3 increased the number of its trains running daily to a maximum of 22. “Our maintenance program is doing well and at the same time, this is the effect of our rail replacements.” MRT-3 tested the train operating speed at 40 kph last September. This reduces the average waiting time of passengers from nine minutes to seven minutes. Reference: [1] Dela Cruz, Raymond Carl (29 October 2020). Philippine News Agency. “MRT-3 conducts test runs on overhauled train at 50 kph”. Article and photo credit retrieved from - https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1120153

Construction

Marcelle P. Villegas - December 14, 2020

Right-of-way ordinance for Makati Intra-City Subway project

By Marcelle P. Villegas Last 21 October 2020, Makati City government passed and approved an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of right of way covering the underground portions of nine roads that are affected by Makati City government’s subway project. As per Ordinance No. 2020-204, the roads that will be affected by the project are: Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, South Avenue, J.P. Rizal Avenue, J.P. Rizal Extension, Pablo Ocampo St. Extension (Vito Cruz Extension), Kalayaan Avenue, EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue), C-5 Road (a.k.a. Carlos P. Garcia Avenue), and San Guillermo Avenue. The city ordinance mentions of subsurface right of way need to be acquired for the “staging, construction, operation, maintenance and development of the Makati Subway Project.” The nine roads mentioned above are in the road and bridge inventory of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Therefore, they fall under the jurisdiction of the department. “Considering the importance of acquiring the easement of the right of way of the subject roads for the benefit of the citizens of Makati, the City Government of Makati is constrained to acquire, through voluntary agreement or expropriation proceedings, an easement of right of way of the subject roads.” [1] Section 19 of the Republic Act No. 7160 or Local Government Code of 1991 stated the authorizing of expropriations if needed. The City of Makati has entered into negotiations with and made a “valid and definite offer” to the DPWH for the acquisition of right of way. Philippine Infradev is building a subway that is worth $3.5 billion that shall traverse the central business district of Makati City. There will be 10 stations across the 10-kilometer line. Last September, Philippine Infradev signed a $1.21-billion contract that covers engineering, procurement and construction with China Construction Second Engineering Bureau Co. Ltd. For the subway project. The subway project is expected to accommodate 700,000 passengers daily in order to reduce the traffic congestion in the city. They are targeting the subway’s completion in 2025. [1] About the Makati Subway Project The Makati Intra-city Subway is a planned underground rapid transit line in the City of Makati that spans out to 11 kilometers or 6.8 miles. This is designed to link establishments across Makati’s business district. The project is a partnership between the Makati City Government and a private consortium led by Philippine Infradev Holdings. The subway line’s stations will be connecting the existing Line 3 (Guadalupe Station), the Pasig River Ferry Service, and the approved Line 9 (Metro Manila Subway). It was on 12 December 2018 when the preparatory work was commenced. On the same day, ceremonial drilling took place in front of the Makati City Hall. The Makati City Hall is near the site of one of the proposed stations of the subway. On this day, the signing of the memorandum of understanding also took place. The memorandum was signed by Makati City Government and a consortium consisting of Philippine Infradev and Chinese firms Greenland Holdings Group, Jiangsu Provincial Construction Group Company Ltd., Holdings Ltd. and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. Soil testing and feasibility studies of the proposed locations for the subway line’s stations were done as part of the preparatory work. By June 2019, 8 out of the 10 proposed stations have been finalized. The two proposed stations along Ayala Avenue are yet to be finalized due to “non-response” from its owners. The proponents said that they may divert the subway towards PNR Buendia Station or the Mile Long property in Legaspi Village instead. For now, the first station will be located at the Makati Central Fire Station. The fire station will be demolished. From there, the line goes towards a Lucia Tan owned property near Circuit Makati and Makati City Hall. The remaining stations will be located near Rockwell Center, Makati Bliss Housing in Guadalupe, Century City, University of Makati, Cembo and the final station will be near Ospital ng Makati. In July 2019, soil testing related with the subway project was completed. Philippine Infradev and the Makati City Government signed a joint venture agreement for the subway project. By October 2019, the plan to move the terminus of the line to the Mile Long property has been finalized. The area is being redeveloped by the national government along Amorsolo Street. The soil test results were favourable and the route diversion meant that the cost of the project might be reduced to as low as $2.5 billion. Moreover, a joint venture with Megaworld Corp. was made to build a common station in Guadalupe for the subway system and for the planned SkyTrain. Based on a disclosure to the stock exchange, the Philippine Infradev’s subsidiary, Makati City Subway Inc. (MCSI) received the term sheet from Megaworld Corp. This joint venture will build access to the Line 3 Guadalupe Station and the Pasig River Ferry. Philippine Infradev has an agreement with China Construction First Group Corp. Ltd. (CCFG) to build a transit-oriented development. Based on this agreement, CCFG is responsible for the construction, materials, manpower, equipment and other requirements to complete the project. The construction is expected to last for 42 months. [2] References: [1] Balinbin, Arjay L (25 October 2020). Business World. “Makati passes right-of-way ordinance for subway project”. Retrieved from - https://www.bworldonline.com/makati-passes-right-of-way-ordinance-for-subway-project/ [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makati_Intra-city_Subway (Photo credit: IRC Properties Inc.)

Construction

Marcelle P. Villegas - December 14, 2020

PH National Green Building Day – Sept. 8

By Marcelle P. Villegas President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Proclamation 1030 last 21 October 2020 declaring September 8 of every year as the “National Green Building Day”. This is a step to strengthen the promotion and establishment of energy-efficient and green buildings in the Philippines. Malacañang Palace released a copy of the proclamation last October 28. [1] The proclamation was signed to recognise the need to provide opportunities to encourage cooperation between the public and private sectors in advancing the government’s commitment in protecting the environment. [2] The proclamation read, “The Department of Public Works and Highways, in coordination with relevant non-government organizations and civil society groups, shall promote the observance of the National Green Building Day and identify the programs, projects, and activities for the yearly celebration thereof.” In addition, all other agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, including government-owned or controlled corporations and state universities and colleges, all local government units, and private sector were encouraged to support the DPWH in celebrating and implementing the National Green Building Day. “It is imperative to intensify existing initiatives to promote and raise awareness on the efficient and equitable use of resources, proper water and waste management, and integration of eco-friendly processes and systems, among others,” it read on the proclamation. [2] On the Sec. 16, Article II of the Constitution, it is written that the State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. DPWH adopted the Philippine Green Building Code (GB) through the passage of National Building Code Development Office Memorandum Circular 1. The memorandum defines the framework of standards that are intended to lower the carbon emissions from buildings and to promote the health and well-being of the people in the building. The GB Code is a set of regulations setting minimum standards for compliance. It is, however, not to be used as a guide to rate buildings. Based on the GB Code, buildings are subject to the performance standards of energy efficiency, water efficiency, material sustainability, solid waste management, site sustainability, and indoor environment quality. “Green building is the practice of adopting measures that promote resource management efficiency and site sustainability while minimizing the negative impact of buildings on human health and the environment. This practice complements the conventional building design concerns of economy, durability, serviceability and comfort.” [2] References: [1] Esguerra, Darryl John (28 October 2020). Philippine Daily Inquirer. “Palace declares Sept. 8 National Green Building Day”. Retrieved from - https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1353440/palace-declares-sept-8-national-green-building-day [2] Parrocha, Azer (28 October 2020). Philippine News Agency. “Duterte declares Sept. 8 as National Green Building Day”. Retrieved from - https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1119942 Photo credit: https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1119942

Construction

Marcelle P. Villegas - September 24, 2020

Dangers of Respiratory Disease at Construction Sites

By Marcelle P. Villegas “The deadliest things in the world are usually invisible to the naked eye.” This is a statement from a social media advertisement of Pinoy Builder, a website about infrastructure, design and construction industry in the Philippines. Their informative post aims to spread awareness of preventing respiratory illness while working in construction sites, in celebration of National Lung Month last August. Even after August and due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, our mindfulness in protecting our respiratory tract remains essential. August was declared as National Lung Month by former President Ferdinand Marcos on 24 July 1978 through the Presidential Proclamation No. 1761. This decree was signed by the former president in recognition of the fact that lung disease such as pneumonia and tuberculosis continue to exact a huge toll of precious lives among Filipinos, especially the low-income group. Those working in construction sites are quite a vulnerable group of labourers with regards to lung disease or infection. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, protecting our lungs is not only a matter of occupational safety but more so now for survival. Having healthy lungs is an essential part of having a quality life and maintaining employment. The Philippine College of Chest Physicians said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has created a truly unprecedented situation which affects us all." They also announced that the 25th of September is World Lung Day. "World Lung Day (WLD), 25 September, is a day for lung health advocacy and action, an opportunity for us all to unite and promote better lung health globally." [1] The Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) is a premier organization of lung specialists in the Philippines. They organize events and ad campaigns to increase public awareness among lay Filipinos about common pulmonary conditions and with an emphasis on the importance of preventive health care in maintaining healthy lungs. So what are the common toxic substances in a construction site that are harmful for the lungs? Pinoy Builder website enumerated four, namely: sawdust, asbestos, molds and cement dust. These substances are not only fine particles that are abrasive on the respiratory tract and eventually the lung tissues. They also contain toxic substances that should not be present inside the body in the first place. Inhaling sawdust or wood dust into the lungs can cause breathing problems and might lead to lung disease such as occupational asthma or even lung cancer. Asbestos when inhaled can seriously damage the lungs by scarring the lung tissues. (Imagine fine, sharp star-like particles inside the lungs whose tissues are soft and fragile.) The condition is called asbestosis which normally happens after heavy exposure to asbestos over many years. The symptoms of asbestosis are persistent cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, extreme tiredness, pain in the chest and shoulders, and in advanced cases, having swollen fingertips. The condition also leads to severe fibrosis and puts the patient in a high risk of mesothelioma or cancer of the lung pleura. (The pleura is a vital part of the respiratory tract whose role is to cushion the lungs and reduce the friction between the lungs, rib cage and chest cavity.) It can be a fatal condition where a patient with asbestos-related lung cancer has a life expectancy of 16 months. Molds are also dangerous for the lungs or respiratory tract because it may trigger asthma attacks and other upper and lower respiratory problems. Even those who are not sensitive to molds may develop allergic reactions to it such as irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs. The mold Aspergillus fumigatus can cause an infection called aspergillosis which is marked by wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pain and fever. Cement is also harsh on the lungs. Prolonged and repeated exposure can lead to a disabling and fatal lung disease called silicosis. Generally, silicosis is a lung disease that develops when a person inhales dust that contains silica. Those are tiny crystals found in sand, rock, mineral ores, cement, etc. Repeated inhalation of silica can lead to scarring of the lung tissues that make it hard to breath. With all these dangers at the workplace, plus the threat of COVID-19, it is important to prioritize health and occupational safety in your company. Providing the proper protective gear for all employees is a good investment because having healthy workers is an asset and adds to the success factor of your infrastructure project. ----- Reference: [1] Retrieved from Philippine College of Chest Physicians website - https://philchest.org/xp/ Photo credit: Caption by Pinoy Builder for the August - National Lung Month social media post Cement dust photo - http://yonsha.jp/

Construction

Marcelle P. Villegas - September 24, 2020

Guidelines for a Safe Construction Site Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

By Marcelle P. Villegas The Philippine economy in general, along with many local infrastructure projects are greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The highly contagious trait of the virus became a source of anxiety and fear in the work setting since safety and life-threatening issues are now at play. For the past months, the construction industry is not only hindered by the strict lockdown rules, but it continues to be affected by the uncertainties created by this crisis. Due to the virus's contagious and fatal nature, many businesses started reassessing their protocols at the workplace. In construction sites, this reassessment is twice the work since the nature of the projects entails physical labour, team coordination, and is generally a large-scale operation. The Philippine government has also reassessed several health and safety guidelines to the public to promote social distancing and workplace safety measures. [1] A product of this reassessment is the Construction Guidelines for Project Implementation during the Period of Public Health Emergency. The guidelines were drafted by a Technical Working Group formed by the Philippine Domestic Construction Board. The objective of the guideline is to provide a safety manual for those working in construction sites amid the pandemic circumstances. [1] The guide includes the following topics: Materials Handling deliveries Manpower Awareness & communication Clearing to return to work Monitoring Proper work attire Social distancing Site operation Machinery Money Risk Assessment Monitoring Excerpt from the Construction Guidelines for Project Implementation during the Period of Public Health Emergency: Background The President declared a state of public health emergency through Presidential Proclamation No. 922 s. 2020 to address the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) threat, subsequently placing the whole of Luzon under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) on 16 March 2020... The construction industry which contributes about 4.2 million workers to the country’s labor force, in anticipation of the lifting of ECQ, is getting ready to return to work and would like to ensure the safety and welfare of people, most especially those of its employees/workers. Construction industry players would like to focus on preventing the occurrence of and controlling the spread of the virus in the workplace, mindful that a single case of COVID-19 can lead to an interruption, if not total work stoppage. The global pandemic has affected livelihoods, lifestyles and industries including the construction industry which relies heavily on human resources. Total work stoppage from the time ECQ was declared has had debilitating effects not just on workers who are mostly project based and therefore paid on a daily basis but on contractors as well, majority of whom or 88% are small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The Philippine Domestic Construction Board (PDCB), an implementing board of the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP), mandated to formulate policies, plans, programs, and strategies for the development of the Philippine construction industry organized a Technical Working Group (TWG) comprised of representatives from contractors of varying sizes and suppliers coming from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to draft the proposed protocols for the industry in preparation for resumption of construction work in areas under quarantine. “The TWG drafted the ‘Construction Guidelines for Project Implementation during the period of Public Health Emergency’ as a reference for contractors and implementing agencies, to ensure viability of projects and protection from and spread of the coronavirus. The TWG considered four (4) major components of the project cycle, namely; Materials, Manpower, Machinery and Money or the 4Ms of construction in creating the Construction Guidelines for Project Implementation during the period of Public Health Emergency. “These were developed considering SME contractors which employ the biggest chunk of the industry’s labor workforce and large contractors involved in both public and private infrastructure projects as well as vertical construction. The guidelines will give pointers in managing their human resources at this critical time but will likewise give important directions to contractors in managing their business not just for survival but to be able to contribute to the country’s economic recovery program.” For a copy of the complete Construction Guidelines, you may view or download it in this link: https://www.gppb.gov.ph/assets/pdfs/Construction%20Guidelines%20for%20Project%20Implementation.pdf “The new normal is restrictive, but enacting effective safety measures for the worksite is for everyone’s sake. Stay safe and stay prepared, especially with recent reports stating a rise in infections in the Philippines. Never undervalue the health of your workers, and never underestimate the contagiousness of the virus.”[1] ----- Reference: [1] Retrieved from https://pinoybuilders.ph/construction-guidelines-for-project-implementation-during-the-period-of-public-health-emergency/

Construction

Marcelle P. Villegas - September 24, 2020

A Bright Future with SMC’s upcoming projects and ongoing charity works

By Marcelle P. Villegas “We believe that our SLEX TR5 and Pasig River Expressway projects will be the next game-changers. These will fuel economic growth that’s sustainable -- new jobs will be created, tangible assets delivered and more private sector-led investments stimulated. Sama-sama. Babangong tayo.” (Ramon S. Ang, San Miguel Corporation) Mr Ramon Ang, President and COO of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) announced last August 25 the various infrastructure projects in Luzon for the next five years. The projects are worth PHP121.8 billion. Thousands of workers, local contractors, suppliers, haulers, national and local governments will benefit from these SMC investments for these projects. Mr Ang said, "San Miguel is fully committed to helping our country overcome this crisis. A big part of that is to continue, and not hold back, on new investments." He noted that SLEX TR5 will take four years to complete while PAREX will take three years. "By that time, the pandemic would have been far behind us." Additionally, he noted other major infrastructure projects like the Bulacan Airport, which is a PHP734-billion project will also be complete by then. "Within five years, the Philippines will be transformed and be better than ever." The Toll Regulatory Board of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) recently announced that the SMC's proposed SLEX TR5 and PAREX are certified toll road projects. The SLEX TR5 or South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 5 is a PHP26.38 billion project which spans a distance of 420 kilometers. It has four lanes starting from SLEX TR4 in Barangay Mayao in Lucena City, Quezon province all the way to the Matnog Ferry Terminal in Sorsogon. This is a Build-Operate-Transfer project with a concession period of 30 years. [1] The project can be completed in 46 months. The purpose of building the SLEX TR5 is to reduce travel time from 9 hours to 5.5 hours when travelling from Lucena to Matnog Ferry Terminal. This road project also connects major urban centers in Quezon Province and Bicol. Moreover, it will provide safer and smoother access to agricultural areas, food production areas, roro ports, fish ports and some tourist destinations. As for the Pasig River Expressway, a PHP95.4 billion project, this will start from Radial Road 10 (R10) in Manila and will end at the connection of the South East Metro Manila Expressway (SEMME) at C-6. This road project has six lanes and is an elevated expressway traversing the entirety of the Pasig River. The road has a distance of 19.40 kilometers. The Pasig River Expressway will be completed in 36 months and will operate under the 30-year Build Operate Transfer (BOT) scheme. As an advantage, travel time from R-10 to C-6 will be reduced to 15 minutes. This expressway also directly connects the western and eastern cities of Metro Manila. Hopefully, this will reduce congestion in the R-10, ESDA and C-5 by having connectivity among toll roads and freeways. This will also divert traffic to other alternative routes. Quick access to Makati, Ortigas and BGC will become possible now, given that they are the largest business districts of the Philippines which are prone to daily traffic congestion. These projects will begin as soon as SMC acquires the required permits and clearances. "Hopefully, we will be able to finalize with the government and they will find our proposals favorable to the country," said Mr Ang. "In the short to medium term, our people need jobs," he added. "Among the most affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 are laborers who rely on daily wages and many in the construction industry." "We also have a lot of engineers or technical and labor workers from abroad who have either lost their jobs or decided to come home to their families. We can use their skills." ----- Meanwhile, as we look forward to the completion of their future projects, how does SMC address the current difficulties of the poor during this pandemic? Last August, Mr Ang announced that they will provide free bread for poor communities through the various branches of their gas stations in Metro Manila. “Every community is home to children and families facing hunger. Through our various Petron stations, we hope to continue to get food to people who need it and help them make it through these challenging times.” [2] This food distribution will take place in 30 Petron stations near the depressed areas in Metro Manila. They shall distribute “nutribun” (a bread fortified with vitamins and minerals) and other regular breads. This program is in partnership with local government units in the cities of Payatas, Caloocan, Malolos, Tondo, and more. They plan to eventually distribute other food variants like rice porridge and other meals. Mr Ang mentioned that they will continue to provide food aid for the urban poor whose situation has been more difficult due to the lockdown restrictions. He said, “Many families are struggling to cope. What more the most disadvantaged among us — those who rely on daily paid work, or those who have no means of income at all?” He mentioned that even big companies have been hit hard by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. ----- Reference [1] Abadilla, Emmie V. (26 August 2020). Manila Bulletin. "SMC lining up P122-B infra projects" Retrieved from - https://mb.com.ph/2020/08/26/smc-lining-up-p122-b-infra-projects/?fbclid=IwAR3DvMcY5KVEw_xvA0XEyNnlzPJb1FDIapblSR0vadtkocY4TGEJ9jwe_Sk [2] {Aug 17, 2020). CNN Philippines. “Bread kiosks to be set up at gas stations in Metro Manila to feed urban poor”. Retrieved from - https://www.cnn.ph/business/2020/8/17/metro-manila-free-bread-SMC.html

Construction

Marcelle P. Villegas - June 02, 2020

Architect Palafox on urban planning advice for pandemic survival

(L-R) Urban planner and Architect Felino “Jun” A. Palafox, Jr., Mr Joey Nelson R. Ayson (President, Philippine Mining and Exploration Association), Marcelle P. Villegas (Journalist, Philippine Resources Journal) (Photo by Matthew Brimble, Philippine Resources Journal) By: Marcelle P. Villegas “Livable cities have forward planning.” (Architect Jun Palafox, Jr., on ANC’s “Market Edge”) Architect Felino “Jun” A. Palafox, Jr. is a multi-awarded urban planner and founder of Palafox Associates. Some of his well-known designs include the City of Manila Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Zoning, Rockwell Center and Makati Streetscapes, Manila Polo Club redevelopment in Makati City, Ortigas Streetscapes, La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City, Santa Elena Golf Course Community in Bulacan, Manila Southwoods in Cavite, First Industrial Park in Batangas, Qatar Embassy in Paranaque, and more. During his T.V. interview last April 13th at ANC’s “Market Edge” by Ms Cathy Yang, he gave his professional insights and analysis on how other countries survived pandemics in the past, the flaws in the city design and systems in the Philippines that make it prone to more problems during a pandemic, and his advice on how we can improve in addressing the COVID-19 crisis properly and in preparation for future pandemics. He was asked by Ms Cathy Yang on “Market Edge”, “Nobody has been spared from the COVID-19 pandemic, not even countries with top-notch healthcare systems. Why do you think that is?” “I think they were not prepared. The whole world was not prepared for this pandemic. And although there were already warnings in the year 2000 - 2005 and some investments internationally had already been prepared for the next pandemic, but it seems they only planned it when the epidemic started and not before. So everybody was caught unaware of it. We have a disaster preparedness plan but not for this pandemic,” replied Mr Palafox. [1] When asked how he thinks countries can cope to increase resiliency from where we are now, he said, “Now we are doing the observation and what's going on in this situation and everybody is addressing this problem. We should now have a plan for the transition into the new world order... If you've seen our planning, we have a very weak urban planning system here. We should now include healthcare systems as part of the planning and disaster preparedness for this pandemic.” Mr Palafox added that there are a lot of lessons to learn from history on how to successfully deal with a pandemic. He mentioned in his weekly newspaper column at The Manila Times that various studies and historical evidence support the connection between climate change and environmental changes with the occurrence of diseases. [2] “...it has been proven that climate change is making the world more hospitable for viruses, bacteria and pathogens to thrive. Moreover, health experts believe that by pushing into the last wild spaces of the planet, humans come in contact with wildlife populations that carry new kinds of diseases.” [2] “But history teaches us that much can be done through proper design and urban planning to battle health emergencies and even prevent it. In the mid-1800s, urban planner Frederick Law Olmstead was able to integrate urban planning and public health by promoting the concept that community design is key in enhancing physical and mental health. As a result, he designed hundreds of green spaces, including New York’s Central Park. In the mid-19th century, the city of London was experiencing recurring cholera outbreaks. This pushed parliament to pass legislation enabling the Metropolitan Board of Works to develop a sanitation system and begin street improvements. Joseph Bazalgette, the board’s chief engineer, designed an efficient sewage system that intercepted and diverted wastewater from old sewers and underground rivers to treatment facilities. Years later, most of the city was already connected to the new sewer network.”[2] Moreover, he stated that in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the correlation between urban planning and public health became more evident in the following: 1) prevention of diseases through community infrastructure like drinking water and sewage systems; 2) development of green spaces to encourage physical activity and promote better mental health; and 3) establishment of land use and zoning ordinances to protect people from hazardous risks. [2] Mr Palafox also mentioned during his interview in “Market Edge”, "I've been saying that Metro Manila, with the way it is, can no longer be sustainable.” He pointed out that we do not have enough parks and open spaces, and social distancing is hard in our transportation system. He suggested that in EDSA, “Walking and bicycle should be the first mode of transportation. Our planning has always been automobile centric and bias for the automobile. Our national development is to the primacy of Metro Manila. It is Metro Manila centric, so if Metro Manila is paralyzed, the rest of our country is paralysed. There had been so many proposals before to develop the regions and make other cities in the country more attractive so people don’t have to migrate to Metro Manila.” He also wrote in his weekly column in The Manila Times, “Sadly, there will be more future pandemics. According to the World Health Organization, the next pandemic is a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not the last major outbreak we will experience. This will be the result of our choices and how we humans have been negligent in inhabiting the planet.” [2] “In urban planning, guidelines are laid out to determine how many hospitals and other medical facilities are necessary for municipalities and cities to cope with health emergencies and other disasters. According to the Department of Health, the components of urban health system development comprises programs and strategies for Healthy Cities Initiative, citywide investment planning for health, and urban health equity assessment and response, among others.” [2] He mentioned how other countries are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and what we can learn from them. “Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan received praise from health experts because they were able to prepare for the coronavirus before it reached them, and they were able to immediately and aggressively act on it when it arrived. Hence, these territories have only less than 300 confirmed Covid-19 patients even though the virus reached them way before it reached Italy, France and Spain, which now have thousands of cases. Hong Kong was able to quickly develop diagnostic tests and promptly deploy these to major hospitals in the city. Social distancing was extensively implemented at once, and many locations were readily repurposed to serve as quarantine facilities.” “Singapore’s prime minister, and health and foreign ministers issued clear messages and were very transparent to the public and the rest of the world. The government learned from its experiences dealing with SARS, or the severe acute respiratory syndrome, and H1N1, also known as swine flu, and was able to establish a sound system for tracking and containing epidemics. The country immediately developed tests for COVID-19, intensified production of the materials needed to carry out the tests, and offered free healthcare services related to the disease. Taiwan enforced 124 safety protocols that reflect comprehensive and well-designed policies and strategies. Taiwan was able to restrain the rise of confirmed cases by maximizing public health infrastructure and data analytics, affordable healthcare, swift action from the national government, and wide-ranging educational outreach.” He then concluded, “Seeing what has been happening to our country recently, we could definitely learn a lot from the overall response of Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. What we are witnessing in the news reflects that our strategies and protocols to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus need further study and enhancements. If worse comes to the worst, our healthcare system will not be able to cope with only 89,000 hospital beds and 1,000 ICU or intensive care unit beds. Clearly, we are simply not as prepared as we want to be. We lack investments in our healthcare system, and we are missing well-planned systems and policies for health emergencies.” Last April, his own family experienced a great loss when his niece passed away. UP-PGH Head Nurse Faye Marie Palafox was a frontliner and a safety officer-in-charge with an important role of assuring her team has complete PPEs before facing patients with COVID-19. Mr Palafox wrote on his newspaper column, “In keeping with our belief in philanthropic and patriotic architecture in times of crisis, we at Palafox Associates and Palafox Architecture Group are donating the full design manual of the Ligtas Covid Centers. We prepared this with hospital managers, health systems professionals, emergency and disasters experts, and graduate students from the Asian Institute of Management Masters in Innovation and Business (AIM MSIB). Using infection prevention and control principles, the design manual can convert basketball courts into isolation units for suspect and probable COVID-19 patients. We hope our architectural design for the COVID centers will help decongest hospitals and help our nation in the fight against this pandemic.” [3] Palafox Associates is the first Filipino architectural firm listed in the World’s Top 500 Architectural Firms of the World Architecture Magazine. His company ranked 94th in the list and has a distinction of being the only Southeast Asian company in this list. By 2012, Palafox Associates was Top 8 in the Leisure Market sector. Mr Palafox was included in the “People of the Year” list by People Asia Magazine in 2010. He received the Gusi Peace Prize Award in 2011. In 2017, he was awarded the Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Awards for Architectural and Urban Planning Honoree. ----- Acknowledgement: Thank you to Ms Cathy Yang and the team of “Market Edge” on ANC. ----- References: [1] Yang, Cathy (13 April 2020). “How can countries better prepare for pandemics?” Interview of Mr Felino Palafox, Jr. on ANC’s TV show “Market Edge”. Retrieved from ttps://youtu.be/Va5I1fXYK-w [2] Palafox, Felino A. Jr. (19 March 2020). “Silver lining: Lessons to learn”. The Manila Times. https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/03/19/opinion/columnists/silver-lining-lessons-to-learn/704158/ [3] Palafox, Felino A. Jr. (23 April 2020). “Frontliners”. The Manila Times. Retrieved from https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/04/23/opinion/columnists/frontliners-2/717480/

Construction

Marcelle P. Villegas - February 20, 2020

Are Buildings Bad for the Environment?

By Marcelle P. Villegas Have you ever lived in a neighborhood where the house beside you is under construction? Occasionally, you will hear loud noises and the air is filled with heavy fumes and industrial dust particles. This is a typical scenario from a construction site. You are lucky if your neighbor is building a small house and construction activities happen during daytime. Imagine living in a place where you are surrounded by multiple constructions of skyscrapers, and building operation happens 24/7. In this fast-paced, modern world, the presence of high-rise buildings is often seen as indicators of progress. Although constructions are intended to make life better on this planet, Bill Gates presented an alternative view in his article “Building Boom: Buildings are bad for the climate”. [1] “Besides the traffic and the weather, we Seattleites love to talk about all the construction going on in our city. The downtown skyline is full of cranes, and it seems like the building never stops. By the end of the year, 39 new projects will have been completed in downtown Seattle alone, and there are plans for more than 100 others to be finished in the next two years,” Gates wrote. Other than Seattle, the same scenario happens in other places in the world. He stated that the rise in global population causes urban areas around the world to boom. Thus more buildings are being built rapidly. He predicted, “By one estimate, the world will add 2 trillion square feet of buildings by 2060—the equivalent of putting up another New York City every month for the next 40 years.” [1] This statistics is both good and bad. Gates mentioned that “living in the city generally equates to a higher quality of life” where everyone can enjoy the benefits of having better schools, health care and job opportunities. “The bad news is that the buildings themselves are a big contributor to climate change, and one of the five areas where we need to drive a lot of innovation if we’re going to avoid a climate disaster,” said Gates. Solving the problem of building emissions is important in protecting the environment. Buildings are responsible for greenhouse gases, first during construction stage. “Buildings are made of concrete and steel, both of which produce a lot of emissions when they’re being made. In fact, these two materials account for around 10 percent of the world’s annual greenhouse gases. And right now, we don’t have practical ways to make either one without releasing carbon dioxide.” [1] Gates mentioned a company called Boston Metal who is developing ways to make zero-carbon steel using electricity instead of coal. Another company, CarbonCure has a smart approach in injecting carbon dioxide into concrete. Both companies are funded by Breakthrough Energy Ventures (or BEV), a $1 billion fund led by Bill Gates which aims to support these kinds of technologies. BEV was founded in 2016 and the fund’s pursuits are supported by Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son, former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, Virgin’s Richard Branson, and Alibaba’s Jack Ma. [2] After a building is made, it continues to contribute to climate change with its ongoing operations. “It’s natural to think of lights and appliances like TVs as the biggest energy hogs, but they’re not: It’s actually heating and cooling. If you live in a typical American home, your air conditioner is the biggest consumer of electricity you own—more than your lights or refrigerator.” Moreover, he said, “Worldwide, there are 1.6 billion A/C units in use. And that number will skyrocket as the world gets richer, more populous, and hotter; by 2050, there will be more than 5 billion A/Cs in operation.” Other than air conditioning, the use of heaters is another issue. Most heaters run on electricity while others run on fossil fuels (like oil and natural gas). “The best solution—from a climate point of view—is to electrify as much as we can (again, while decarbonizing the power grid) and supply the rest with zero-carbon fuels, like hydrogen fuels or advanced biofuels. Right now, though, these alternatives cost two to three times more than conventional fuels, so we’ll need a lot of innovation to make them more affordable.” Gates mentioned some innovative technologies that could help buildings use energy more efficiently. He cited the use of “smart glass” for windows which automatically turns darker when the room needs to be cooler, and it turns lighter when it needs to be warmer. “And BEV has invested in a company called 75F, which uses wireless sensors to measure temperature, humidity, darkness, and other factors and then uses the information to adjust heating, cooling, and lights. They’ve found that this system can cut a building’s energy use by 50 percent,” according to Gates. Most counties have adopted the use of certifications for product safety and quality. However, do these labels reveal how much energy it can save or the amount of greenhouse gas emission is it responsible for? Often, these certifications cannot provide such information or guarantees. This is where a tool called EC3 can help out. EC3 stands for Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator. This is an easy-to-use tool that allows benchmarking, assessment and reductions in embodied carbon, and “focuses on the upfront supply chain emissions of construction materials”. [3] EC3 can tell us how much carbon was used to produce steel, cement, and other materials made by companies that volunteer in providing this information. “This data will be even more important in the years ahead; right now, 80 to 90 percent of emissions come from running the building over its lifetime, but as we use cleaner sources of electricity and make buildings more efficient, the emissions from construction materials will represent a larger share of the total.” “Finally, we can strengthen our building codes to ensure that buildings are designed to be not only energy efficient, but built with low-carbon materials. Unfortunately, some rules actually make it hard to use these materials. For example, if you want to put concrete in a building, the building code might define the precise chemical composition of the cement you can use in it. But that standard may rule out low-emissions cement, even if it performs just as well as the conventional kind.” “Obviously, no one wants to see buildings and bridges collapsing because we relaxed our codes too much. But we can make sure the standards reflect the latest advances in technology, and the urgency of getting to zero emissions.” Reference: [1] Gates, Bill (28 Oct. 2019). “Building Boom: Buildings are bad for the climate”. Gates Notes - The Blog of Bill Gates. Retrieved from - https://www.gatesnotes.com/Energy/Buildings-are-good-for-people-and-bad-for-the-climate [2] Rathi, Akshat (26 Aug. 2019) “Bill Gates-led $1 billion fund expands its portfolio of startups fighting climate change”. Quartz. Retrieved from - https://qz.com/1693546/breakthrough-energy-ventures-expands-its-portfolio-to-19-startups/ [3] Retrieved from - https://www.buildingtransparency.org/en/

Place your Ad Here!

Join the Philippines'

Mining and Construction Community

Be the "First" to get our exclusive Digital Magazine & Newsletter.