EQ main

National Earthquake Competition 2019

1. Introduction

Singapore Polytechnic's School of Architecture & the Built Environment is organising the 10th National Earthquake Competition 2019 for all upper secondary schools in Singapore. Earthquake is one of the most devastating natural disasters on planet earth. Strong earthquakes and earthquake-induced secondary disasters result in catastrophic human suffering and loss of property. An estimated 1.6 million people died in earthquakes during the 20th century.

The competition aims to generate students’ interests on the importance of Civil Engineers in designing earthquake-resistant buildings and earthquake disaster mitigation. It involves student teams using MDF (Medium Density Fibre) timber strips and boards, glue and cotton strings to design and fabricate models of earthquake-resistant buildings. On the day of competition, models will be tested on a 2-Dimensional Earthquake Simulator to determine the winners according to the technical requirements and competition rules.

Important dates are as follows:

No. Event Date
1 Start of online registration Monday 14 January 2019
2 End of online registration Friday 01 February 2019
3 Briefing & collection of materials

Wednesday 20 February 2019
Time: 1:30pm – 3:30pm
Venue: ABE Event Hall (W512)
Registration starts at 2pm. Light refreshment will be provided

4 Demonstration

Wednesday 20 February 2019
Time: Immediately after briefing
Venue: Dream Builders 1 (W515)
New participating schools are encouraged to attend

5 Submission of models

Wednesday 3 April 2019
Time: 9am – 12nn and 1:30pm – 5pm
Venue: Dream Builders 1 (W515)
Late submissions will be subjected to late penalty

6 Competition

Monday 8 April 2019
Time: 12:30pm – 4:30pm
Venue: Dream Builders 1 (W515)
Registration starts at 12nn

7 Prize presentation

Monday 8 April 2019
Time: 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Venue: ABE Event Hall (W512)


2. Competition Details

  • The competition will be held on Monday 8 April 2019 (12pm to 5.30pm) at Singapore Polytechnic’s Workshop 5 - W515 (Dream Builder 1).
  • A briefing session and collection of materials will be held on Wednesday 20 February 2019 at 1:30pm at ABE Event Hall (W512), Singapore Polytechnic. Either the teacher-in-charge or team representative will be required to attend the session.
  • A demonstration session will be arranged on Wednesday 20 February 2019 at W515 but it is optional and registration can be made during the briefing session.


3.  Competition Rules

  • The competition is open to all upper secondary school students in Singapore.
  • Each school can send only one (1) team.
  • The number of students in each team shall not be more than four (4), or fewer than two (2).
  • Participants are required to register with the Organising Committee not later than Friday 01 February 2019.
  • All entries shall comply with specifications stated in the Technical Requirements of the competition.
  • All entries submitted shall be original and not have won any awards in another similar competition.
  • All participants are responsible for ensuring that their entries do not infringe any existing intellectual property laws.
  • The Organising Committee is not liable for infringement or abuse of any design as a result of participating in this competition or subsequent publicity.
  • Any entry that does not meet the competition rules will be disqualified.


4. Technical Requirements

  • Please click here to download the Technical Requirements of the competition.
  • Please click here to download the briefing slides.


5. Online Registration

  • Please click here to register.
  • Registration opens on 14 January 2019 and closes on Friday 01 February 2019


6. Prizes

  • Winners of the top 3 teams and 8 merit teams will receive attractive prizes.
  • All participants will receive certificates of participation.


7. Announcement of Results

  • The winners and their ranking will be announced on Competition Day and a Prize Presentation Ceremony will be held in ABE Event Hall (W512).
  • In event of a tie in the results, the Organising Committee reserves the right to redistribute the prizes.
  • All decisions made by the judging panel are final.


8. FAQ

  • How will your models be tested on the 2-Dimensional Earthquake Simulator at Singapore Polytechnic's W515?

In the video below, you will see building models constructed by previous participants. The baseboards of these models were mounted onto the 2-Dimensional Earthquake Simulator. When the simulator was set into motion simulating earthquakes of different magnitudes, the models were shaken to find out which would be the strongest one to withstand these earthquake forces.

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/9fAoX8RT6Zo


  • I have read the specification. And I notice there is no mention of the size of columns. Is this true?

The column size is to be decided by the participating teams. They can use any number of provided timber strips to glue them together to form a column. For example, they may use 4 timber strips to form a column.


  • Can we use super glue to assemble the building structure?

Absolutely no. You can only use the provided glue sticks to assemble structural members. If you finish up the glue sticks that we have provided, you may purchase the same type of glue sticks from any hardware shops yourself.


  • Can we use the strings as part of the structure? For example, the beams?

The cotton strings provided are for you to tie joints and strengthen structural members formed by the MDF timber strips such as columns, beams and braces. The main structural members especially beams (main beams and secondary beams), however, cannot be purely made out of the cotton strings.


  • Is the amount of string restricted to 4m only? What is the penalty if we use more?

The 4m string is just a sample. You can use as long as you like. There will be no penalty provided you use the same type of strings.


  • Can we use other materials that are not provided by you?

No other material is allowed. Otherwise the model will be disqualified.


  • Where can we get additional materials if we have run out of the materials provided by you?

You may buy the cotton strings from any hardware shop or bookstore if you want to use more.

If you have finished the glue sticks, you can buy them from any hardware shop.

If you really run out of the timber strips, please let us know, we can provide extra strips to you. But please take note that winning models are determined based on the ranking of ratios of shaking force to model self-weight. If more strips are used for a model, the model will certainly be heavier which may bring down the ratio of shaking force to self-weight. In fact, if you really want to try a few models to practise before making the final one, it is advisable that you may buy and use other types of timber strips and base boards from any timber shop, because it is very hard for you to find the same type of timber materials which we provide to you.


  • If one side of a model is braced using the below method, how do we calculate the x value for the 1st and 2nd floors?

Please refer to the Technical Requirements of the competition.


  • Can we use string to tie around the entire column?

Yes, you can.


  • For our own practice, where do we purchase the materials (timber strips and baseboards) and what is the specification of the materials?

Below are the contact details of a timber supplier recommended by us. You may also find any other timber supplier.

  • Company Name: MERAWOOD Industries Pte Ltd
  • Address: 24, Sungei Kadut Street 4 Singapore 729050
  • Tel: 63636683 Fax: 63636382
  • Email: merawood@pacific.net.sg
  • Contact Person: Nicole Mun (H/P: 91460178)


The specifications of timber strip and baseboard are as follows:

  • Timber type: New Zealand Medium Density Fibre (MDF)
  • Timber strip size: 900mm x 6mm x 4mm
  • Baseboard size: 270mm x 270mm x 6mm







Chat with us