Taiwan applies big data to planning new building standards

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TAIPEI (CNA) — The government has applied big data in a study that will be used as a basis for revising building standards to improve the strength of structures in Taiwan to withstand strong winds.

The Architecture and Building Research Institute (ABRI), under the Ministry of the Interior, said in a press release Saturday that current standards on wind-resistance of structures in Taiwan are based on a regulation called the Wind Resistance Design Specifications and Commentary of Buildings, which took effect in 2015.

However, it was formulated using typhoon data compiled before 1991 and fails to consider factors such as typhoon paths, the uneven spread of weather stations across Taiwan and disparities of wind speeds measured by different weather stations, the ABRI said.

This lack of precise information has resulted in difficulties in calculating wind speeds, information that is used as an input when designing the durability of a structure to withstand wind, it said.

The ABRI said it started its research last year, using new technologies to simulate 13,230 typhoons, with data collected from 1,323 typhoons in the western North Pacific area, to overcome the shortcomings faced by Taiwan.

Using the big data, the simulation results show that suggested wind speeds that buildings and structures in Taiwan have to withstand are between 34-58 meters per second, depending on location, according to the institution.

The ABRI also considered dividing the current wind force scale into more levels to reflect situations more accurately and reassigning designed wind speeds to cities, townships and districts in Taiwan better fitted to current administrative divisions.

The planned revision of the building standards in relation to wind resistance will provide additional protection to the lives and properties of Taiwanese citizens, the ABRI said.

Taiwan is hit by an average of 3.6 typhoons every year, concentrated from July to September. Between 1958 and 2017, 221,000 houses were damaged and 119,000 were completely destroyed by typhoons, data from Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau showed.

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