Sunday, June 20, 2010

Structural Engineering in the Philippines

The following article can be found at the Electronic Encyclopedia of the National Research Council of the Philippines:

Structural engineering is a field of specialization in civil engineering which deals in the analysis and design of structures such as houses, buildings, towers, and bridges. A structure is a system of various types of structural elements such as beams, columns, walls, trusses arches and plates. Analyzing a structure involves representing a real structure and forces by a mathematical model and determining the critical internal forces and effects such as axial forces, shear forces, bending moment and deflections that are needed in design. Designing structures, on the other hand, requires that the structural engineer satisfies the requirements for strength, serviceability and economy.
For the protection of public life and property, the design of structures and the preparation of structural plans for their construction have to be controlled and regulated. In the Philippines, the National Structural Code of the Philippines (NSCP) is adapted as the referral code for structural design. The NSCP prescribes the minimum requirements in terms of strength, serviceability and ductility of buildings and other structures.

There are two volumes of the NSCP – Volume 1 is for Buildings, Towers and Other Vertical Structures and Volume 2 is for Bridges. Although many provisions of the NSCP have been derived from codes developed in the United States like the Uniform Building Code (UBC), ACI code of the American Concrete Institute and codes of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), however, there also provisions that are adapted to Philippine conditions such as those related to wind loading, seismic design and timber design. The NSCP is continuously updated and published by the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines, Inc. (ASEP).

The Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines, Inc. (ASEP) was incorporated by 32 charter members in September 1961 with Ambrosio Flores as the founding president. Among the past ASEP presidents were Abelardo Carillo, Angel Lazaro Jr., Lauro Cruz, Cesar Caliwara, Octavio Kalalo, Ernesto Tabujara, Primo Alacantara and Ernesto de Castro. Aside from the NSCP, ASEP also published the Steel Handbook, Earthquake Design Manual, Proceedings of the ASEP International Conventions and other Conferences such as the Asia Conference on Earthquake Engineering (ACEE). After the 1990 Luzon Earthquake, ASEP also initiated the Disaster Quick Reaction Survey Teams for rapid documentation and assessment of structural and geotechnical damage to buildings, bridges and other structures after a disaster. ASEP collaborated with the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) in the Disaster Quick Reaction Program (DQRP). In July 28, 2006, the National Disaster Coordination Council (NDCC) of the Philippine Government recognized the efforts of ASEP and PICE through the Gawad Kalasag Award.

In 2006, the PICE amended its by-laws creating five specialty divisions – one of them is Structural Engineering. Membership in the specialty divisions is open to Life members or Fellows in good standing of the PICE. A specialty examination is required for admission in the specialty divisions starting January 2008.