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.
SELF̞EDUCATED CONSTRUCTER PROBLEM IN TURKEY
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.
ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT IS POSSIBLE FOR HIGH DEMAND
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.