HK buildings withstand Mangkhut’s onslaught

Apart from some swaying buildings, shattered windows and flooding, Hong Kong’s buildings braved the Typhoon Mangkhut onslaught on Sunday. At its most intense stage, maximum sustained wind speeds near the centre of the storm clocked in at 195 kilometres/hour.

This is thanks to the city’s architecture, which had been constructed to deal with strong winds.

In an interview with the South China Morning PostVincent Ho Kui-yip, a former president of the Institute of Surveyors, said the design of high-rise buildings took strong winds into consideration and the overall structure for most buildings in Hong Kong should be able to cope with winds.

“Swaying is normal, the problem is whether the degree is too large,” he said. “If [windows are] fitted too tightly and there is no space for them to expand and contract, they might crack.”

For the past 20 years, windows in Hong Kong had to meet a standard regulated by the Buildings Department, with bigger ones sent for laboratory testing, said veteran engineer Greg Wong Chak-yan.

A Buildings Department spokeswoman said all private buildings had to safely sustain a wind load larger than Typhoon Mangkhut, as stated in the Code of Practice on Wind Effects in Hong Kong 2004.

While there were no serious casualties, Hong Kong still faces a long recovery from extensive damage, flooding and travel disruption, the SCMP reports, as well as significant overall economic impact. — Construction+ Online