The World Housing Encyclopedia (WHE) Report Database contains 130 reports on housing construction types in 43 seismically active countries. Each housing report is a detailed description of a housing type in a particular country. The description is prepared from a number of standard closed-ended questions and some narrative that have been provided by report authors. Each report has five major categories including architectural and structural features; Building Materials and Construction Process; Socio-economic Issues; Past Performance In Earthquakes, Seismic Features and Vulnerability; and Retrofit. All of the housing reports in this database have been contributed by volunteers. If you are interested in writing a housing report please contact the WHE Editorial Board.


The World Housing Encyclopedia (WHE) is a collection of resources related to housing construction practices in the seismically active areas of the world. The mission is to share experiences with different construction types and encourage the use of earthquake-resistant technologies worldwide. The technical activities of the WHE are steered by an international team of 22 professionals specializing in different aspects of seismic safety of buildings and structures. They bring relevant experience from 16 seismically active countries across the world. For more information about the World Housing Encyclopedia, visit

General Information


Report #:44
Building Type: Reinforced concrete frame building with timber roof
Country: Malaysia
Author(s): Dr. Azlan Adnan
Tuan Norhayati Tuan Chik
Bahiah Baharudin
Last Updated:
Regions Where Found: Buildings of this construction type can be found in almost all parts of Malaysia. This type of housing construction iscommonly found in both rural and urban areas. About 30-40% are located in semi-urban areas.

This housing type is commonly used for family housing and ...

Length of time practiced: 25-60 years
Still Practiced: Yes
In practice as of:
Building Occupancy: Residential, 10-19 units
Typical number of stories: 2
Terrain-Flat: Typically
Terrain-Sloped: 3





Plan Shape Rectangular, solid
Additional comments on plan shape The typical shape of a building plan for this housing type is rectangular shape.
Typical plan length (meters) 6
Typical plan width (meters) 20
Typical story height (meters) 4-Mar
Type of Structural System Structural Concrete: Moment Resisting Frame: Designed for gravity loads only, with URM infill walls
Additional comments on structural system The lateral load-resisting system is reinforced concrete moment resisting frame. Columns and walls give stiffness tothe structure, which controls the lateral drift. The common size of columns is 600 mm X 600 mm and for walls are150 mm thickness.The vertical load-resisting system is reinforced concrete structural walls (with frame). The roofs are designed totransmit gravity loads to the slabs, beams, and columns. The walls are from the non-load bearing wall system. Allexternal walls and partition walls are 9-inch brick walls. Internal partitions are timber framing.
Gravity load-bearing & lateral load-resisting systems Structural Concrete: Moment resisting frame, designed for gravity loads only (predating seismic codes i.e. no seismic features)
Typical wall densities in direction 1 1-2%
Typical wall densities in direction 2 1-2%
Additional comments on typical wall densities The typical structural walldensity is up to 5 %. 2% (1% -5%).
Wall Openings A typical house has approximately several windows, with average size of 2.4 sq. m.
Is it typical for buildings of this type to have common walls with adjacent buildings? No
Modifications of buildings
Type of Foundation Shallow Foundation: Reinforced concrete isolated footingShallow Foundation: Mat foundation
Additional comments on foundation The typical separation distance between buildings is 10 meters or more.
Type of Floor System Other floor system
Additional comments on floor system Structural concrete: cast in place and precast solid slabs. Floor/roof are considered to behave as rigid diaphragms.
Type of Roof System Roof system, other
Additional comments on roof system Timber: thatched roof supported on wood purlins. Floor/roof are considered to behave as rigid diaphragms.
Additional comments section 2 When separated from adjacentbuildings, the typical distance from a neighboring building is 10 meters.


Building Materials and Construction Process



Description of Building Materials

Structural Element Building Material (s)Comment (s)
Wall/Frame ConcreteCharacteristic Strength: 24 kN/m^3 -30kN/m^3Grade 25-30Mix Proportion/Dimensions: 1:2:4 (cement: fine aggregate: course aggregate)
Foundations ConcreteCharacteristic Strength: 24 kN/m^3 -30kN/m^3Grade 25-30Mix Proportion/Dimensions: 1:2:4 (cement: fine aggregate: course aggregate)
Floors ConcreteCharacteristic Strength: 24 kN/m^3 -30kN/m^3Grade 25-30Mix Proportion/Dimensions: 1:2:4 (cement: fine aggregate: course aggregate)
Roof ConcreteCharacteristic Strength: 24 kN/m^3 -30kN/m^3Grade 25-30Mix Proportion/Dimensions: 1:2:4 (cement: fine aggregate: course aggregate)

Design Process

Who is involved with the design process? EngineerArchitect
Roles of those involved in the design process Engineers are in charge of the structural design and the construction process. Architects are in charge of the architectural design.
Expertise of those involved in the design process Engineers and architects have experience in design and construction process. This is one of the most typicalconstructions in Malaysia, so there are good capable professionals with experience on this kind ofbuilding.

Construction Process

Who typically builds this construction type? Other
Roles of those involved in the building process It is more typically built by developers or for speculation.
Expertise of those involved in building process
Construction process and phasing Developers normally build structures of this type. Process start with the foundation of the building, then columns and brick walls are built, finally beams and roofs are made at the time to get a monolithic structure. The tools typically used in this type of construction, are hammers,nails, construction wire, etc. and the equipment used include concrete vibrator, concrete mixer and others. To start the construction of the building one needs to get a construction license. Municipal authorities are in charge of giving this license to the builder companies.Each housing project must have four kinds of technical drawings: structural drawings, architectural drawings, water installation drawings and electric installation drawings. Municipal authorities need to approve this technical information in order to get construction license.Construction typically takes place over time, buildings are originally designed for a specific number of stories. However, it is commonly found that owners decide to build additional stories some years later of the end of the original construction.
Construction issues

Building Codes and Standards

Is this construction type address by codes/standards? Yes
Applicable codes or standards BS 8110 (British Standard). The year thefirst code/standard addressing this type of construction issued was 1980's. The BS 8110 code also includes nationalbuilding codes, specifications for materials and seismic standards.
Process for building code enforcement Municipal authorities just approve the design of the building. Typically, the owner hires aparticular supervisor for construction of the building.

Building Permits and Development Control Rules

Are building permits required? Yes
Is this typically informal construction? No
Is this construction typically authorized as per development control rules? Yes
Additional comments on building permits and development control rules

Building Maintenance and Condition

Typical problems associated with this type of construction There are no typical problems associated with this type of construction.
Who typically maintains buildings of this type? BuilderOwner(s)Renter(s)
Additional comments on maintenance and building condition

Construction Economics

Unit construction cost Unit construction cost is approximately 13.3 US$/sq. m.
Labor requirements This type of building needs about 12 months or more to complete the construction. However, thetime required does not depend on the architectural characteristics of the building.
Additional comments section 3


Socio-Economic Issues



Patterns of occupancy One family occupies a single apartment or housing unit.Each building typically has more than 10 housing unit(s). These housing unites are usually clustered.
Number of inhabitants in a typical building of this construction type during the day <5
Number of inhabitants in a typical building of this construction type during the evening/night 10-May
Additional comments on number of inhabitants
Economic level of inhabitants Low-income class (poor)Middle-income classHigh-income class (rich)
Additional comments on economic level of inhabitants Ratio of housing unit price to annual income: 5:1 or worse The house price indicated is just for one tenement. Economic Level: For Poor Class the Housing Price Unit is 6250and the Annual Income is 2100. For Middle Class the Housing Price Unit is 25000 and the Annual Income is 4500 ForRich Class the Housing Price Unit is 30000 and the Annual Income is 4600.
Typical Source of Financing Owner financedPersonal savingsCommercial banks/mortgagesGovernment-owned housingOther
Additional comments on financing Other: Government loan.
Type of Ownership RentOwn outrightOwn with debt (mortgage or other)Units owned individually (condominium)
Additional comments on ownership
Is earthquake insurance for this construction type typically available? No
What does earthquake insurance typically cover/cost
Are premium discounts or higher coverages available for seismically strengthened buildings or new buildings built to incorporate seismically resistant features? No
Additional comments on premium discounts
Additional comments section 4





Past Earthquakes in the country which affected buildings of this type

YearEarthquake Epicenter Richter Magnitude Maximum Intensity
1991Labuan, Sabah

Past Earthquakes

Damage patterns observed in past earthquakes for this construction type
Additional comments on earthquake damage patterns

Structural and Architectural Features for Seismic Resistance

The main reference publication used in developing the statements used in this table is FEMA 310 “Handbook for the Seismic Evaluation of Buildings-A Pre-standard”, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C., 1998.

The total width of door and window openings in a wall is: For brick masonry construction in cement mortar : less than ½ of the distance between the adjacent cross walls; For adobe masonry, stone masonry and brick masonry in mud mortar: less than 1/3 of the distance between the adjacent cross walls; For precast concrete wall structures: less than 3/4 of the length of a perimeter wall.
Structural/Architectural Feature Statement Seismic Resistance
Lateral load pathThe structure contains a complete load path for seismic force effects from any horizontal direction that serves to transfer inertial forces from the building to the foundation.FALSE
Building Configuration-VerticalThe building is regular with regards to the elevation. (Specify in 5.4.1)TRUE
Building Configuration-HorizontalThe building is regular with regards to the plan. (Specify in 5.4.2)TRUE
Roof ConstructionThe roof diaphragm is considered to be rigid and it is expected that the roof structure will maintain its integrity, i.e. shape and form, during an earthquake of intensity expected in this area.TRUE
Floor ConstructionThe floor diaphragm(s) are considered to be rigid and it is expected that the floor structure(s) will maintain its integrity during an earthquake of intensity expected in this area.TRUE
Foundation PerformanceThere is no evidence of excessive foundation movement (e.g. settlement) that would affect the integrity or performance of the structure in an earthquake. TRUE
Wall and Frame Structures-RedundancyThe number of lines of walls or frames in each principal direction is greater than or equal to 2.TRUE
Wall ProportionsHeight-to-thickness ratio of the shear walls at each floor level is: Less than 25 (concrete walls); Less than 30 (reinforced masonry walls); Less than 13 (unreinforced masonry walls);TRUE
Foundation-Wall ConnectionVertical load-bearing elements (columns, walls) are attached to the foundations; concrete columns and walls are doweled into the foundation.TRUE
Wall-Roof ConnectionsExterior walls are anchored for out-of-plane seismic effects at each diaphragm level with metal anchors or straps. FALSE
Wall OpeningsTRUE
Quality of Building MaterialsQuality of building materials is considered to be adequate per the requirements of national codes and standards (an estimate). TRUE
Quality of WorkmanshipQuality of workmanship (based on visual inspection of a few typical buildings) is considered to be good (per local construction standards).TRUE
MaintenanceBuildings of this type are generally well maintained and there are no visible signs of deterioration of building elements (concrete, steel, timber).TRUE

Additional comments on structural and architectural features for seismic resistance
Vertical irregularities typically found in this construction type Other
Horizontal irregularities typically found in this construction type Other
Seismic deficiency in walls Wall is not designed to sustain the seismic forces
Earthquake-resilient features in walls
Seismic deficiency in frames Seems sufficient due to the design method
Earthquake-resilient features in frame
Seismic deficiency in roof and floors Have adequate rigidity.
Earthquake resilient features in roof and floors
Seismic deficiency in foundation
Earthquake-resilient features in foundation

Seismic Vulnerability Rating

For information about how seismic vulnerability ratings were selected see the Seismic Vulnerability Guidelines

High vulnerabilty Medium vulnerabilityLow vulnerability
Seismic vulnerability class |- o -|

Additional comments section 5

Retrofit Information


Description of Seismic Strengthening Provisions

Structural Deficiency Seismic Strengthening
Roof Timber
Columns Shear steel reinforcement

Additional comments on seismic strengthening provisions
Has seismic strengthening described in the above table been performed? Yes.
Was the work done as a mitigation effort on an undamaged building or as a repair following earthquake damages? Yes.
Was the construction inspected in the same manner as new construction? Yes.
Who performed the construction: a contractor or owner/user? Was an architect or engineer involved? A contractor performed the construction and also an engineer was involved.
What has been the performance of retrofitted buildings of this type in subsequent earthquakes?
Additional comments section 6



BS 8110 - British Standard

Structural Terrace Plan And Brochures of Residential Area.


Name Title Affiliation Location Email
Dr. Azlan Adnan Senior Lecturer Civil Enginering Department, University of Technology Malaysia UTM, Johor 81310 Malaysia
Tuan Norhayati Tuan Chik Master Student Civil Enginering Department, University of Technology Malaysia UTM, Johor 81310 Malaysia
Bahiah Baharudin Undergraduate Student Civil Enginering Department, University of Technology Malaysia UTM, Johor 81310 Malaysia


Name Title Affiliation Location Email
Ravi Sinha Professor Civil Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay Mumbai 400 076, INDIA