World-class buckling-restrained braces technology now in GCC

The GCC in general and UAE in particular experience seismic activity due to the movement of the seismic plates which passes through Iran fault line.

By Staff Report

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Published: Sat 21 Mar 2015, 11:40 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 12:21 AM

Dubai — GCC states are home to some of the tallest buildings in the world and according to estimates; over 300 skyscrapers are expected to be completed within the Gulf countries by the end of this year — all over 150 metres tall.

With such a heavy concentration of tall buildings in the region, it is but natural that the authorities implement the most-modern building codes and safety norms for high-rise buildings to ensure an increased capacity in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes. Moreover, the GCC in general and UAE in particular experience seismic activity due to the movement of the seismic plates which passes through Iran fault line.

Amidst this, the launch of the latest revolution in mitigating seismic risks and other demanding natural loads by Emirates Building Systems, or EBS, a subsidiary of Dubai Investments, assumes far greater significance.

EBS recently unveiled the first-of-its-kind buckling-restrained braces, or BRBs, innovation in the entire Middle East, which not only revolutionises the safety and resistance of buildings against any possible earthquake risks and because of their characteristic of resisting equal tension and compression loads, decrease the earthquake load coefficients resulting in better performance and more economy on all the members that resist the earthquake loads.

The BRBs, produced by CoreBrace, EBS’ associates in the US, are composed of a slender steel core, continuously encased in a concrete shell which is cast inside steel sleeves. This first-of-its-kind technology has been greatly welcomed by the trade in the region and the growth potential on offer is huge. The demand for this one-of-its-kind technology is expected to exceed Dh20 million in the first year itself, and this is expected to grow 50 per cent year-on-year over the next five years.

“The concept of BRBs was originally developed in Japan in the 1980s and appeared in the US in 1994 after the earthquake in Los Angeles. The new technology opens the doors for shifts in the architecture of buildings, creating new opportunities for unique structures. BRBs also act as a seismic fuse protecting the main load bearing elements of the building from damage and can be installed even in existing buildings,” said Samir Akra, EBS general manager.

The BRBs are used as regular bracing members or outriggers connecting the periphery of buildings to its core, whether in structural steel buildings, conventional concrete buildings, precast or post-tensioned concrete buildings. In a way they act like the shock absorbers in automobiles and hence they provide an extra edge in the event of an earthquake.

“This is the first time in the region that BRBs are being used. It is a new structural concept; the BRBs are encased in a sleeve of steel and reinforced concrete for providing adequate resistance for building structures and are an cost-effective alternative to traditional steel systems,” added Akra.

With the added advantages in mind, EBS is ensuring that both new construction projects and retrofitting of existing buildings in the UAE and GCC are designed and constructed to protect buildings with any seismic risks.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com



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