Cebu hospital ‘can endure magnitude 10 quake’

THE new building of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) set to open next year will be able to withstand an earthquake much stronger than the one that hit Cebu five years ago.It will be able to withstand

THE new building of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) set to open next year will be able to withstand an earthquake much stronger than the one that hit Cebu five years ago.

It will be able to withstand a magnitude 10 earthquake, said Cebu City Assistant Engineer Nilo Igot.

Igot, who is also CCMC project structural engineer, said the new building of the public hospital has a deeply seated foundation reaching up to 15 meters, or about four stories high. The standard height for each story is around four meters.

“Multi-story buildings with many occupants, such as the CCMC, should be constructed deep, up to the hard stratum. The same applies to bridges,” he said.

The construction of the foundation alone of the new CCMC building took up 20 percent of the P1.5-billion cost of the entire project.

The foundation took at least six months to finish because the hospital is huge with a floor area of 3,500 square meters, Igot said.

“In the event of a disaster, the new CCMC will remain resilient since it is not only stronger, it is also built to stand for a minimum of 100 years,” said Igot.

The magnitude 7.2 quake that struck Bohol and Cebu on Oct. 15, 2013 damaged P2.257 billion worth of public infrastructure, about P819 million of it in Cebu. It also killed 227 persons, 214 of them in Bohol.

Igot said the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) subsequently created a five-member team of engineers to conduct a post-earthquake evaluation of public infrastructure.

Last year, inspections were conducted in the City Hall buildings and the City Department of General Services office at the South Road Properties and a public market in Barangay Labangon. The DEPW also inspected other government offices, such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Court of Appeals. It also catered to a private entity, the WG and a building of 2Go.

Since its construction some 30 years ago, the Cebu City Hall has survived two deadly earthquakes, the magnitude 6.9 on Feb. 6, 2012 and the magnitude 7.2 on Oct. 15, 2013.

But in their July 2017 report, engineers found a column and beam that required further investigation due to a notable deep crack that might have an effect on the City Hall legislative building structurally.

On the second floor of the same building were minor defects, such as cracks on wall plasters. Leaks were found on the ceilings of several rooms on the third floor due to poor water-proofing on the fourth floor slab. And on the fourth floor were concrete-covered wide flange steel columns that needed repair. The concrete cover was deemed dangerous because it might detach and cause untoward incidents.

DEPW engineers, though, deemed the executive building still safe for occupancy since there was no major damage on its structural members. Most of the affected areas were just the walls and plastering. Igot said these do not pose a major threat since the buildings’ columns are still structurally sound.

“The City Hall is strong. It can withstand up to a magnitude 9 earthquake,” he said.

As for the old CCMC building on N. Bacalso Ave. that then mayor Michael Rama ordered demolished in 2014, it was deemed unsafe after the 2013 quake. DEPW engineers found that the 45-year-old hospital’s ceilings, walls and columns had huge diagonal cracks, and windows had shattered after the tremor.

The revised National Building Code implementing rules and regulations, which came into effect in 2004, provides that all structures be able to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake on the Richter scale.

“The old CCMC building was able to withstand only up to magnitude 6. We also found that it had a shallow foundation,” said Igot.

Since the demolition of the old building, the City has been using the building of the Bureau of Fire Protection and the old office of the Cebu City Transportation Office as a temporary hospital.

By March though, city residents will be able to use the first three floors of the new CCMC building.

Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos said the construction of Phase 1 of the 10-story hospital is already 91 percent complete.

De los Santos, deputy mayor for health, said the first floor of the building will be for parking, laundry, the septage treatment plant and the maintenance department.

The second floor will host the emergency room and all medical departments, including pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology and isolation. The third floor will house the outpatient and dialysis departments.

Phase 1 of the project comprises the building of the hospital’s first seven floors. Phase 2 will comprise all the utilities, including plumbing, electrical, fire protection, mechanical, communication and the structural finishes. The hospital will have at least 200 beds. (RTF, RVC)