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Pisi denies QT steel is unsafe for high-rise building construction

The Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (Pisi) denies allegations that quench-tempered (QT) steel is unsafe for high-rise building construction.

PISI says that QT steel has been used in the country for a number of decades now, noting that it has even been included in the Philippine National Standard (PNS) 49:2002.

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This developed as stakeholders, including former Sen. Anna Dominique Coseteng, said that the use of such steel bars in high-rise buildings were hidden from the public on purpose.

According to a media report, structural engineer Emilio Morales said that such materials could not be subjected to bending, wielding, threading, or galvanizing – which “poses a high risk in the construction of high-rise buildings.”

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Coseteng also said that manufacturers have flooded the market with QT bars, which are supposedly cheaper to produce, to replace the “micro-alloy” types traditionally used in the country.

In separate comments, however, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Pisi President Roberto Cola said otherwise.

“QT has been used in the Philippines since the 1970s and [it’s] safe for high-rise [buildings],” he told the Inquirer, noting that it’s used in “almost all countries in the worl,” including New Zealand which Morales said had studies that backed his claims on QT bars.

He said QT is in the PNS 49:2002, which was formulated by a group of public and private stakeholders who “will never compromise safety.”

No factual basis

In a separate statement, DTI said that the allegation has “no factual or technical basis,” citing consultations with various stakeholders including Pisi and the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP), wherein the latter is chaired by Morales.

“It was learned in the studies and researches made by the DTI that the process of quenching and tempering steel is being used by more than 190 countries across the globe for the last 30 years,” DTI said.

DTI even cited a study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology – Metal Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC), called the “Characterization of Locally-Manufactured Quenched and Self-Tempered Reinforcing Steel Bars.”

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Citing the study, DTI aid that the rebar process through quench-tempering and thermomechanical treatment had passed all the chemical, physical, and mechanical requirements.

“The DTI-Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) strongly upholds its stance that the use of QT steel bars in construction is safe, even stressing that the DOST-MIRDC study in itself confirms this provided that restrictions on welding, hot bending, treading, and galvanizing are strictly followed,” DTI said.

Nevertheless, DTI said it would revise PNS 49, which would include the establishment of an embossed permanent marking for QT steel bars to inform consumers that they are purchasing such kind of steel.

The same is likewise proposed for micro-alloyed rebars. /atm

TOPICS: PISI, QT steel, quench-tempered steel
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