Ecuadorian isolation Part II – building on experience

Following the successful completion of projects to supply seismic isolation bearings for the reconstruction of two hospitals in western Ecuador, mageba was awarded the contract to supply bearings of the same type for a third hospital that was also destroyed by the same earthquake in 2016.

Ecuador’s location on South America’s Pacific coast makes it prone to substantial seismic activity, as felt by the country’s people in a very real way on 16th April 2016. Following a strong foreshock eleven minutes earlier, the main shock occurred just before 7pm local time, and was followed by over 55 aftershocks in the following 24 hours. It had a magnitude of 7.8 on the moment magnitude scale – a measure of an earthquake's magnitude based on the amount of work done by the earthquake, and now widely considered the authoritative magnitude scale for ranking earthquakes by size.

The earthquake severely damaged and destroyed numerous public buildings throughout northern Ecuador, including a number of hospitals. In reconstructing the hospitals, of course, great importance was placed on designing the buildings to survive future earthquakes, enabling them to continue serving their communities when they are most needed. In 2017 already, just a year after the earthquake, a new hospital was constructed in the town of Muisne, with mageba seismic isolators used to make the new structures earthquake-proof. To fast-track the process of rebuilding further hospitals, a standard design was developed for use in various locations. The construction of one of these hospitals, in the city of Chone, has now been almost completed, supported on RESTON®PENDULUM seismic isolators that are designed to protect it against future seismic ground movements.

Based on the positive experience gained on the isolator supply project for that hospital, as well as on the earlier one in Muisne, it was easy for all parties to extend the collaboration to include the next hospital on the list, in the city of Bahía de Caráquez. Similar to the Chone project, the current one requires 156 pendulum isolators of the same “Duplo” type, and full testing of two further prototypes. Once again, the isolators were fabricated in mageba’s Shanghai factory, and transported to site in the same way as before, enabling the hospitals’ owner, designer and construction contractor to have very high confidence that this second supply and installation process with the standard design would run as smoothly and successfully as the first.

Building owner: Ministry of Public Health
Building designer: Consulsismica Sísmica Ingenieros Consultores Cia. Ltda.
Construction contractor: Consorcio Bahia

Reconstruction of the Bahía de Caráquez hospital, destroyed by the earthquake of April 2016, is well progressed

Design representation (cut-out view) of a RESTON® PENDULUM DUPLO isolator bearing showing its three curved sliding surfaces

Cross-section drawing of a RESTON® PENDULUM DUPLO isolator bearing – the upper and lower curved surfaces designed to accommodate the required biaxial movements, the middle one to facilitate rotations

Cross-section drawing showing how the RESTON® PENDULUM DUPLO isolator bearing allows large horizontal displacements during an earthquake while temporarily raising the structure and dissipating energy through friction, before re-centring the supported building after the event

Design representation of a seismic isolator bearing as developed for the “standard design” hospitals project

The seismic isolators are of the same RESTON® PENDULUM type supplied in 2017 for Muisne Hospital – a building that was quickly reconstructed following its destruction during the 2016 earthquake

The isolators are also of the same type and design supplied for Chone Hospital – yet another hospital that was destroyed by the earthquake in 2016

Preparation of isolator parts for assembly at mageba’s Shanghai factory – where the isolators for the previous hospital reconstruction projects were also manufactured

Testing of a prototype RESTON®PENDULUM DUPLO isolator bearing at SISMALAB in Italy, prior to installation of the actual bearings to support and protect the new hospital

Unloading of the freshly delivered bearings on the construction site in northern Ecuador

A RESTON®PENDULUM isolator bearing following lifting into position on a concrete pedestal

Precise levelling of a isolator bearing prior to grouting in place