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THE Minister for Works and Highway Honourable Solan Mirisim had the honour of launching the three-day seminar on the Interim Amendment to PNGS 1001-1982: Part 4 Earthquake Design Actions on Tuesday, 18th of July, at Holiday Inn Hotel, Port Moresby.

The seminar, intended for engineers, architects, builders building boards inspectors and building regulators, was co-hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Industrial Technology Standards Division, Department of Works, PNGAust Partnership Programme, Australia Government through Geoscience Australia, King Consultant, and the Beca Consultant.

All Provincial Works Managers across PNG and Engineers attended the seminar. Two Building Standards Technical Committee members from Unitech and Ok Tedi also attended, including Head of Departments from Civil Engineering and Architecture and Construction Management Departments from Unitech were in attendance.

A total of 257 people attended the seminar over the past three days (seminar ended on Thursday 20th July).

The guest speakers at the seminar were Mr Mark Edwards, who is a Director and Structural Engineer with Geoscience Australia; Mr Rob Jury, who is the Chief Engineer for Structure Beca, New Zealand; and, Mr Andrew King, Engineering Risk Specialist at King Consultant Ltd.

At the launching, Minister Mirisim said: “It is important to control and safeguard the built environment especially for a developing country like Papua New Guinea.”

“To control and safeguard the built environment, the Act, Regulations and Standards used by the building professionals as compliance documents to control constructions of buildings and other associated structures should be updated to current practice.

“In doing so, we not only build safer buildings but resilience structures and ensure the safety and welfare of occupants of buildings that protect the public.

“Papua New Guinea does have a PNG Building Act & Regulations (1994) and other compliance standards. The PNG Building Act & Regulations (Chapter 301) controls all building activities in the country and prescribes when consent is required for construction of

new building. Apart from other PNG Standards that we have, Earthquake loadings for design are prescribed in the PNGS1001:1982, Part 4 Earthquake Design Loads.

“These regulatory and complaint documents however are outdated and need updating, and revision to incorporate modern design methods, new knowledge on design hazard, and suitable changes in the materials used for construction. Standards needs to be updated to avoid under-designed (unsafe buildings) or over-designed buildings (not economical).”

Minister Mirisim said as the Minister responsible for administering the Building Act & Regulation (Chapter 301), he would ensure that these Building codes and compliance standards were amended and revised to accomodate these changes to build better and safer cities especially when addressing earthquake risks and impact on buildings.

He added that the 2018 earthquake destruction in the Highlands Region has amounted to billions of kinas loss.

“Concerns were raised to relook at the Building Code standards and that is when Australia Government got involved to look at PNGS101 1982, Part 4- Earthquake Design loads. Geoscience Australia has been working in collaboration with PNG Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory in close liaison with NISIT and Department of Works and highway. The revised Standards will then be formally incorporated into the PNG Building Act and Regulations for compliance.

“I’m honoured to launch this standard, and the revised standards will now;

  • Provide the severity of the earthquake action to be considered for design that is determined through a set of response spectra to replace the existing seismic zonation map.
  • Enable designers both structural engineers and architects to develop designs in accordance with the specific earthquake loading requirements (“Z” Factor) identified for each specific location, and
  • Provide data for revision to Part II- Administration, Section 3- Seismic zoning map on Plate 2 of the Building regulations.

With that I would like to thank all those individuals who have taken part in the revision exercise to make it happen.”

Mr Mirisim said most of the buildings built under the Department of Works supervision and standards back then have stood the test of time and he plans to bring back all functions to the DoWH.

Deputy Head of Misson and representative from Australia High Commission Dr Joanne Loundes, said the Australian Government had a long engagement in PNG, through Geoscience Australia, and were proud to support this very important initiative.

“This work is important in building resilient buildings infrastructure, road, and bridges,” she said.

NISIT Acting Director-General Mr Gabi, when doing the opening remarks before the seminar, expressed how vital Standards are for a country and urged partners in the construction sector to work with NISIT towards developing and adopting Standards that will safeguard the built infrastructure of PNG.

“In line with the Government’s 2030 ambition to make PNG a middle-earning income country, we must all work together without fear and corruption to meet this goal. Put PNG first and work for our future generation.

“Development of Standards does not happen by one organisation and needs collaborative effort and I am grateful to have our partners on board for this seminar,” Mr Gabi said.

“After this seminar, NISIT will start the review process of the standards to be used.”

Mr Gabi said: “Sometimes there are resistances when trying to extend and develop Standards and such seminar helps to push such agender to the attention of the regulators and the users os Standards.

“This interim Standard is at a commentary stage and after this seminar, your comments will be taken by the technical committee and recommendations would be made and pushed to the National Executive Council to pass these as new laws.”

The guest speakers’ discussion on the PNG’s 1001 Part 4:1982 Earthquake Design Actions includes;

  • Role of building regulations in PNG;
  • Seismic Hazard in PNG and issues with current PNGs 1001-1982: Part 4;
  • Performance objects of building regulations;
  • Basic principles of earth resistance building and their design;
  • The interim amendment is translating the latest hazard assessment to design;
  • Dynamic Analysis of irregular structures;
  • Relationship between interim amendment, PNGS 1001-1982: Part 4 and Building regulations 1994, and,
  • Earthquake design examples using Interim Amendment.