On the 18th of October, a cohort of 40 students and educators from the Professional Construction Management Technician Course paid a visit to CITIFLAT – AVENIDAS NOVAS, a construction site situated on Av. Elias Garcia no.134 in Lisbon, a project undertaken by LEVEL CONSTELLATION (LC). The visit was organized in collaboration with CENFIC and OPEN WEEK – GRUPO CASAIS, with the intent of providing students with practical insights into the critical significance of seismic reinforcement and architectural rehabilitation, extending beyond the confines of academic theory.

The original building where CITIFLAT – AVENIDAS NOVAS is located was first built in the early 1970s, with the intention for offices. It got licensed in 2022 to be transformed into a premium condominium with a set of 17 high-end apartments. The existing building will generally be maintained, except for local areas with the creation of openings in slabs and the expansion of the floors on the back side.

Given the building was from half a century ago, the quality and durability of its original concrete structure became highly uncertain because of erosion of time from the past decades. Therefore, any rehabilitation without analysis and structural reinforcement would introduce an increased potential for seismic risk.

With that in mind, A2P in charge of the structural engineer project adopted a solution with an important upgrade for the sustainability and safety of this building, which mainly involves the following approaches: mixed concrete and metal reinforcements; reinforcements with concrete projection; prestressing in beams; and new concrete structures.

Apparently, the students and teachers are giving very positive feedbacks on what they are learning from the construction site.

Iamik Furtado, one of the students in the visit, mentioned that it is highly important to improve the knowledge of seismic resistance of the buildings in Lisbon. “It has everything to do with survival issues, it is a very unpredictable/uncontrollable natural phenomenon, it involves prevention to reduce damage.”

Ana Sousa, CENFIC Professor in the Professional Construction Management Technician Course, said, “The seismic component is taught in the Structures discipline, there is still some uncertainty in the regulations and legislation, particularly in rehabilitation. It is not necessarily difficult to convey the technical issues, the seismic relevance is still little explored and sometimes neglected. There is some evolution, but just like safety on site, which is now much more controlled and there has been significant evolution in the last 20 years, seismic importance will also have to grow in relevance and control.”

For them, CITIFLAT – AVENIDAS NOVAS was a great choice for college students to see the ongoing structural reinforcement hidden behind glossy walls and learn about the importance of seismic resistance to a building in the real construction.

Expectedly, are the young generations of future architects and civil engineers now better prepared for the issues that are related with the seismic resistance structures? Iamik Furtado said, “Yes, nowadays technology is more advanced. Construction and regulations have been evolving, new materials, new construction and production methods. Works and projects nowadays focus more on these themes of risks, seismic risk, concerns about sustainability and the environment.”

When asked that if the Portuguese students are better prepared than others about those seismic-related issues and why, Ana Sousa replied, “Effectively, with the evolution of the market, needs, and awareness of globalization, it leads to the creation of more attention to the topic. In 1990, when I graduated in Civil Engineering, the design of structures already addressed seismic actions, but it was not as relevant as it is today. Fortunately, in mainland Portugal and islands we have started to be more alert and implement seismic standards during the design and construction phase. There is still a way to go and more that must be done. The importance of the seismic component also has relevant costs for the Project and the value of the work. In this sense, the Promoter who normally seeks to optimize costs must consider that not everything that is expensive is good, but that what is good is expensive. In this sense, seismic is very important to consider, just like other specialties, thermal and acoustic.”

Overall, it was undoubtedly a meaningful event for the city, and Level Constellation continues to be committed to address the topic of seismic reinforcement and contributing to the substantial improvement of the urban environment and mitigating the risks associated with this unpredictable natural phenomenon in the future.

5 December, 2023

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