NEC 2017 – A creative scientific competition of the most seismic-resilient structures

National Earthquake Competition (NEC) was held on 5 July 2017. This was the eighth year that the School of Architecture and the Built Environment was holding this event, and the first time it was hosted in the newly-renovated Dream Builder 1, the key workshop for the Diploma in Civil Engineering with Business students. The objective of the NEC is to generate interests among current secondary school students on the importance of structural engineering, by involving them in designing and fabricating models of multi-storey buildings that would be tested on a 2D Earthquake Simulator. Only simple materials such as timber strips, cotton strings and glue were used to build the models.

This year, 15 secondary schools and 60 students participated in this event which was sponsored by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). For half-a-day, the students, as well as the teachers who accompanied them, attended an Education and Career Guidance talk on the built-environment industry by BCA, were engaged in fun activities related to civil engineering, and were very much intrigued by the testing of the models on the earthquake simulator.

It was an exciting and fulfilling learning experience for the audience, as they observed how some structures succumb to the (simulated) forces of nature – a combination of dead weights as well as ground acceleration exerted by the shaking table – and also studied how some structures were able to survive several rounds of testing unscathed. When the final results were announced, Bukit Merah, Beatty and Admiralty Secondary Schools emerged Champion, First and Second Runner-ups, respectively. Junyuan, Pasir Ris and Unity Secondary Schools clinched the merit prizes. The winners were celebrated in the Event Hall, and prizes were presented by a Director of BCA.

NEC Technical Advisor Dr Tao Nengfu briefing the students on test procedure
Students preparing their models before the actual testing Models being subjected to simulated earthquake
Audience looking on as the last few surviving models compete
Bukit Merah Secondary School winning the First Prize Beatty Secondary School winning the Second Prize
Admiralty Secondary School winning the Third Prize BCA representative Hoon Wee giving an ECG talk on the Building and Construction industry