Seismic retrofit for Ambassador’s residence in Yangon
17 September 2020
When part of this historic building’s ceiling collapsed, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office asked FCDO Services to survey the property and identify danger to life.
Yangon is just one example of Foreign Office buildings identified in its seismic works programme. The Foreign Office worked with our engineers to identify properties across its global estate that were at risk of damage from earthquakes. Buildings that were unsafe were prioritised for structural retrofit works.
We sent a structural engineer to the Myanmar residence to identify any unknown risks. Our report recommended extensive seismic rehabilitation works be carried out.
The goal of a seismic rehabilitation is to reduce the seismic vulnerabilities of a building while retaining its historic materials and features wherever possible. Additionally, the safety and evacuation of all people in the event of an earthquake is a key priority.
Successful seismic rehabilitation of historic buildings requires both a proper understanding of historic preservation and of the inherent strength of archaic materials and structural systems.
Design and retrofit
As well as our report, we produced the design specification for the seismic retrofit, respecting the character and integrity of the building. Our design made sure that damage to features and materials during installation was minimised.
As principal contractor on site, we managed the contract, oversaw health and safety and assured the quality of all works.
The Foreign Office was concerned that the residence should retain its original 1920s features during the works. To achieve this, we preserved the parquet floor downstairs and the teak floor upstairs. As everything else had to be stripped out for safety reasons, we commissioned an artist to recast the original features.
The artist used fibre and lime cornice, a much lighter material than the original concrete, making the building safer. A key benefit of this complex project was using sustainable products to improve the efficiency of the building.