TR Monitor

Kordsa to reinforce 100,000 buildings against earthquake


a composites technologi­es KORDSA, subsidiary of Sabanci Holding, has taken action to strengthen Turkey’s building stock, not with commercial concerns but with a purely social responsibi­lity awareness, according to Kordsa CEO Ibrahim Ozgur Yildirim. “Nearly 100,000 residences in Istanbul can be made earthquake-resilient by retrofitti­ng, therefore the possible loss of life could be reduced by half,” he said.

Kordsa accelerate­d its studies to make the most effective contributi­on to Turkey’s earthquake preparedne­ss mobilizati­on by producing rational solutions to play a leading role in strengthen­ing Turkey’s building stock after the February 6 earthquake­s, Yildirim told daily EKONOMI on the sidelines of a presser held last week at the Composite Technologi­es Center of Excellence, which was establishe­d in Pendik with the cooperatio­n of Kordsa and Sabanci University.

Yildirim stated that the company has made a strategic decision that it can contribute to different industries thanks to its know-how in the tire industry. Kordsa has been continuing its R&D activities in the field of composites and constructi­on reinforcem­ent since 2015. “We aim to lead the constructi­on industry by developing technologi­es that create value in the light of science. As an earthquake country, we focus primarily on innovative technologi­es that will create benefits for our country and then the world,” he said.

With its leadership in tire, composites, and constructi­on reinforcem­ent, Kordsa offers a wide range of reinforcem­ent solutions, from tire reinforcem­ent to the aerospace industry, from the tires of airplanes to the runways on which these planes travel, with the strength of its 50 years of expertise.

The company reinforces one out of every three automobile tires and two out of every three aircraft tires produced worldwide. Kordsa also ranks first in the world in the tire reinforcem­ent cord fabric market.


The biggest problem in the event of an earthquake is the collapse of columns and beams, so the reinforcem­ent works at this point are mostly made with carbon fiber material. However, Yildirim stated that there is a self-educated constructe­r problem in Turkey and said, “Reinforcem­ent is highly popular among constructo­rs these days, and most of those who do this work bring carbon fiber from China and combine it with products bought abroad, which is not a scientific approach. There are even those who sell black fabric made of propylene material as carbon fiber.” These works should be done based on a specific project and scientific data according to Yildirim. “Every building has different needs. Otherwise, the strengthen­ing you will do will not give the result you want,” he said.

Kordsa wants to step in at this point to emphasize the scientific side of reinforcem­ent works and explain this to people. Carbon fiber is five times stronger than steel but weighs 75% lighter than it, Yildirim said. “There are 7.7 million buildings in Turkey that were built before the earthquake regulation. Nearly 750,000 buildings in Istanbul are risky and 100,000 of these buildings can be strengthen­ed and made earthquake-resistant,” he emphasized. Yildirim also explained the cost difference between demolishin­g and reconstruc­ting a building and retrofitti­ng it. Accordingl­y, while the cost of rebuilding a house is TRY 16,000 per square meter, the cost of retrofitti­ng is TRY 4,000 per square meter. A building can be reinforced for an average cost of TRY 400,000 and in one-fourth of the time needed for reconstruc­tion, Yildirim pointed out. The residents of the property should be evacuated temporaril­y during the works to achieve the best results and Kordsa works with academics and experts in the field while carrying out the work, he added.


There is a very high demand and interest in Kordsa’s reinforcem­ent products and services, mainly from the municipali­ties, Yildirim noted. Well, will Kordsa be able to meet a possible increase in demand for reinforcem­ent works? CEO Ibrahim Ozgur Yildirim emphasized that they do not have any capacity problems and they can make additional investment­s if necessary. Yildirim also said that they do not see other big companies producing in this field as competitor­s and that they want to act in cooperatio­n as a social responsibi­lity. “There is a race against time before the possible Istanbul earthquake. That’s why we look at it as a social responsibi­lity. Otherwise, we already cover the money that will come from here with our other business lines,” he said.

Kordsa is among the world’s important players in carbon fiber production. The carbon fiber material is used in 55% of Boeing aircraft and Kordsa supplies nearly 20% of this. Kordsa, which also produces ceramic fiber, offers these products to the spacecraft sector. The carbon fiber market, which has reached USD 5bn, is growing between 5% to 7% every year.

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