FEAR of the imminent devastating earthquakes is worldwide. In the Philippines, government agencies are conducting survival strategies in preparation for the 7.1 magnitude earthquake, “the big one”, which will hit Metro Manila and its nearby provinces. Even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ have warned us about this. He said in Matthew 24:7, “There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”
However, the Bible also reveals in Philippians 4:19 that God will supply our every need from the wealth of His glory in Christ Jesus. This includes His provision of various means on how we could protect ourselves from the wrath of nature. One of these means, I believe, is the gift of wisdom to a Filipino Inventor who created an innovative precast block that revolutionized building industry. He is Inventor Eduardo Urcia, a Bagong Bayani Awardee, a member of the United Architects of the Philippines-Emergency Architects (UAP-E A) and the Filipino Inventors Society, Inc. among others.
Inv. Ed Urcia’s Pre-Cast Composite Block-Panel with Assembly of Recycled Cylindrical Cardboard Rolls Infill, an innovation of conventional blocks system, was published by the Intellectual Property Office Philippines in 2012 and subsequently awarded full patent. In 2015 he received DOST Tuklas Award as First Prize winner and DOST Outstanding Invention as 3rd Prize winner. In 2016 he won the First Price at the UIA-UAP Design Competition and then as First Runner Up at the Amy IPO award.
His pre-cast-block has significant beneficial features when utilize as structural material than the conventional blocks: eco-friendly with minimal wastage from manufacturing to installation; cheaper, lightweight and fast to install because it does not need plastering and many formworks; strong and se-cured for floors, walls and as roofs.
After material laboratory tests the precast block has achieved Compression Strength of 1,350 psi and 3 tons Flexural Strength. It was also tested for fire resistance and got 1hr rate on one side. The block has smooth surface (no need to plaster), customized surface finish, insulated and capable to reduce radiation.
But what made Inv. Ed Urcia’s technology necessary for walls, floors and roofs of a high-rise or low-rise building, or as main parts of a house, is its resistance to strong earthquakes as well as super-typhoons due to his invented construction joints and roof joints. Because of these features, he received accreditation from the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Public Works and Highways and National Housing Authority.
This unique precast block is the product of his desire to make an inexpensive yet strong construction material that can stand against the rage of nature. Although he’d been working for several years in Brunei since 1980s and lived for a year in the United States, he was aware of the terrible situation in the Philippines after devastating typhoons and the news of the impending “the big one” earthquake.
“Ang Filipinas ay palaging dinaraanan ng malalakas na typhoons. May fault lines din tayo… dito nga sa Metro Manila, lilindol daw ng 7.1 magnitude ba ‘yun na earthquake o ‘yung tinatawag nilang the big one?,” expressed Inv. Ed Urcia in our interview.
Installed in a building or a house for floors, walls and roofs Pre-Cast Composite Block-Panel with Assembly of Recycled Cylindrical Cardboard Rolls Infill will serves as shelter when a killer quake strikes. Its resistance against earthquake is up to 7.5 magnitudes.
The wind-blow resistance is 285 kilometers per hour. Although each block does not match the gustiness of super-typhoon like Yolanda’s 360kph, but its strength multiplies when set up as main parts of a building or a house.
Inv. Ed Urcia’s precast blocks are now being used in building projects in Metro Manila and some nearby provinces. He has increasing prospective clients locally and overseas like Brunei, Malaysia, India, Dubai and, Africa.
However he is busy with UAP Emergency Architects.
“EA in cooperation with other humanitarian agents and LGUs, to respond to the flood victims… fire victims… at gaya ng Marawi at saka Tacloban… ang aming ginagawa at the moment we provide informations and designs of emergency shelters,” he added.
According to Inv. Ed Urcia using his precast blocks, socialize housing as permanent shelter can be built in one day.
“Maliliit lang naman ang mga socialize housing. Kung gagamitin ang blocks ko sa flooring, walls at roof, sa loob ng isang araw maitatayo ang isang permanent shelter.”
We Filipinos have been blessed by God with things to protect us against natural disasters.
“Kay God galing ang invention kong ito… worker N’ya lang ako. And because sa Filipinong tulad ko ito ipinaggawa ni God, it’s my duty na Filipinas muna ang makinabang nito,” he said
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1 BUTCH ROLDAN