SM Prime adopts disaster risk reduction measures
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - December 12, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - SM Prime Holdings Inc., the mall developer of the SM Group, has taken major steps to ensure the longevity of its developments and safeguard its host communities, its president Hans Sy said during the recent Annual General Meeting of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in London.

The developer allocates 10 percent of its capital expenditures for disaster resiliency, he said during the meeting held last month.

SM malls, which now total 56 in the country, have evolved into sustainable structures that are proving to be valuable and sensible investments, Sy said.

This means that SM malls have integrated disaster risk reduction into design and operations in the midst of worsening effects of climate change. 

To date, SM malls have a total gross area of over seven million square meters, have an average daily foot traffic of over four million people and have approximately 15,000 tenants. 

“My experience has proven that investing in resilience of our company’s assets makes good business sense. Depending on the location and assessment of the project, around 10 percent of capex is allocated to disaster resiliency,” said Sy, the only Filipino to be part of the UNISDR’s Private Sector Advisory Group.

The latest SM mall, SM City Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, which opened last October 19, 2015 reflects SM Prime’s adaption to climate change by making its infrastructure more disaster resilient.

Cabanatuan was affected by Super Typhoon Lando (International name: Koppu), which caused massive flooding.

Thus, the mall’s design allowed the free flow of creek floodwater during extreme flooding while the lower ground structure served as a flood catchment, thereby reducing the risk of flooding and ensuring the safety of the surrounding communities.

The mall likewise served as a refuge for over 400 customers and families in the area at the height of the typhoon.

Another example is SM City Marikina, which opened in 2008 and was built on concrete stilts to allow floodwater from the nearby Marikina River to flow freely.

The roads surrounding the Marikina mall are at ground level. Anticipating floods during heavy rains at that level, SM Prime constructed the first two levels of SM Marikina as parking areas without wall enclosures.

“The upper parking level was constructed at an elevation of 20.5 meters. During extreme floods, the parking floors are vacated and the supportive stilts allow for the free flow of water through the lower levels, while the business units continue to operate safely as was seen at the onset of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) when a huge part of Marikina was flooded. The mall became a refuge for stranded people and food seekers. It also became a re-packing center for relief goods,” SM Prime said.

The Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City, one of SM Prime’s biggest investments located on 60 hectares of reclaimed property, has also been been designed for resiliency.

Sy said that the main feature of the complex is that all structures were constructed at a height of 4.5 meters above the National Building Code requirements.

“SM Prime places crucial importance on disaster resilience, not as an additional cost, but as part of our core business strategy. It allows us to serve our communities better, to be competitive, to increase our value and bottomline. But most of all, disaster resilience ensures the safety of our customers and the communities where we operate,” Sy said.

 

ACIRC ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY CITY CABANATUAN CITY MARIKINA DISASTER DISASTER RISK REDUCTION HANS SY MALL MALL OF ASIA COMPLEX MARIKINA RIVER SY
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