70% of Puerto Rico’s manufacturing buildings show structural damage – news is my business

Executive Director of PRIMEX Ramón Vega-Alejandro.

The Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension Inc. (PRiMEX) published two studies analyzing the state of the island’s manufacturing infrastructure, which concluded that more than 70% of the 160 buildings inspected are still unsafe after the earthquakes that struck two years ago.

Studies have also shown that over 85% of the island’s small and medium-sized manufacturing companies have structural problems and are at risk in the face of a large earthquake.

The companies are in the 33 municipalities included in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) major disaster declaration for the magnitude 6.4 seismic event of January 7, 2020.

“These results can be grouped into the following areas: informal concrete construction, informal modifications to concrete construction, informal steel construction, possible collision between buildings of different floor heights and hillside structures with movement of possible landslide during an earthquake, ”said PRiMEX Executive Director Ramón Vega. -Alexandre.

The methodology used is the Rapid Visual Detection Procedure (RVS) which identifies, lists and examines potentially seismically dangerous buildings.

This is a study based on the characteristics that can be observed in collecting data with information relevant to the building for seismic performance, explained the professional group.

“The results indicate a more detailed analysis of many buildings, in which 88% (141) of buildings require detailed analysis beyond RVS to determine their seismic performance, of buildings that require detailed analysis, 30% had low Les RVS scores and 70% presented other dangers, ”Vega said.

Regarding the economic aspect, the study examined the impact and strategies adopted by small and medium-sized enterprises located in the southwest region of Puerto Rico during the earthquakes of 2020.

“The supply chain of 75% of them was affected due to distribution disruptions, 73% reported losses of more than $ 10,000, or 119 of the 163 small and medium manufacturers,” said Alizabeth Sánchez-López, chief researcher of the AMS company.

“Fifty-two percent, or 84 of 161 companies, reported partial or full closures, 80% reported human impact, 157 of 197 small and medium-sized manufacturers reported problems with absenteeism and employee retention,” Sánchez said.

“Some 51%, or 100 SMEs out of 196, intend to change their business strategy and 39%, or 77 out of 197, intend to change or create new products,” Sánchez added.

The results show that SMEs in the agriculture, food and beverage sector are less prepared in terms of planning and insurance coverage, compared to the textile industry.

Despite the challenges, evidence suggests that entrepreneurs and managers are starting to take steps to overcome them by changing their business strategies.

PRIMEX indicated that the next steps should be to raise awareness of these issues in order to reduce the possible impact of a major seismic event on the human and commercial impact of the sector.

In addition, there is a need to increase financial assistance through low-interest loans to the sector to finance more in-depth technical analyzes and remedies.

Yamilet Aponte-Claudio was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She graduated from Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Providencia and is currently in her second year at the University of the Sacred Heart. With a major in journalism and a minor in accounting and foreign languages, she aspires to study law after obtaining her bachelor’s degree.

Marjorie N. McClure