December 23, 2016

Damages from the Pidie Jaya Earthquake: School Assessments and Checking in on Build Change-advised Houses

Build Change


Day 4 – 22 December 2016 in Pidie Jaya District

Today we had a chance to join the government team that conducts assessments for school buildings. Their team is divided into three groups, each with an engineer from the Ministry of Public Works, and a representative from each of BPKP (Financial Investigation Agency of Aceh Province), BNPB, and DepEd Pidie Jaya. The team will assess 54 schools that are reported to have high or moderate damage by the school staff. Schools which are deemed highly damaged will be demolished and replaced with a temporary emergency school.

We split our team into two, Danny and Didi went to assess some nearby villages, and Ani joined the government team for school assessments to learn how the government assessment process works. Ani and the government team visited 5 schools. Some schools showed no damage (or no new damage) due to the earthquake, even though the building was reported to be highly or moderately damaged. We did find damages similar to those we had seen elsewhere, including collapsed gable walls and cracking near openings and at wall-column connections. There was a long crack in the side walls and gable walls, found at all schools and a similarly designed library building. Few buildings had collapsed. The engineers from the Ministry of Public Works do not use any forms or tools during assessment, and instead identifies what is missing, pieces that need to be added or repaired, and categorizes the damage accordingly. They will classify a building as highly damaged if the structural frames are broken or have collapsed.

The school assessment team
The corner of a damaged school in Pidie Jaya
Side of a damaged school in Pidie Jaya










Our second team went to two additional villages in Trienggadeng sub-district: Tampui and Peulandok Teunong. Tampui is more remote, near the forest in the hills, but still easy to access. We found about 50% of houses in the area are timber framed. The majority of houses sit on stilts and look to be about 50 years old. The columns are not on the foundation on many of these houses, and nearly 75% of the houses in the villages are damaged. Most of the damaged houses are confined masonry. We found similar problems here as with the confined masonry houses in other villages: building height (floor to ring beam) was about 4 meters or more and had no other reinforcement in the wall, short connections between the rebar of columns and beams, insufficient concrete cover, poor concrete quality, and improper bricklaying techniques. All houses use CGI roofs and timber roof framing, except several old timber framed houses that use sago palm for the roof. There are still many people living in tents in front of their houses, afraid to go back inside.

Interior of Damaged home in Triengadeng
Exterior of damaged home in Trienggadeng









Day 5 – 23 December 2016 at Aceh Besar District

On the last day, we visited two villages in Peukan Bada, in the Aceh Besar district, where we provided technical assistance in 2006. We visited houses in Lampisang and Keuneu Eu villages, some of which were not under our technical supervision. All of the homeowners did not make any changes to the houses since they were built, except for one house (Jamal) which had been expanded to the back and rear. The other two houses extended the roof at the front.  We did not see any major damages to the houses, and the structure frames are still in good condition. The only damaged we found at two houses was the plastering or covering of some columns had chipped off, but the rebar remained unexposed. We found two houses with cracking near the openings or windows, however according to the homeowners the cracks have been there since around 2007 or 2008.

Extension of roof on front of house
Column and roof joint
Exterior corner of house
Small crack near window
Exterior of home








The roof structure and coverings are also still in good condition with no leakage reported. The wall paint is also still looking fine and has not been repainted, despite thin cracking lines on wall surfaces at two houses. The only major damages we found on all houses is the wooden window and door frames look rotten. All of the homeowners still remember Mercy Corps and Build Change, and one of them even still has set of drawings of her house. We shared our bluebook with them as well.

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