BAGUIO CITY – City building official Engr. Nazita Banez urged owners of residential and commercial buildings in the city to strictly comply with the building standards to ensure the safety and soundness of their structures.
In her report before city officials and employees led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Vice Mayor Edison Bilog last Monday, Banez said that while the city building and architecture office (CBAO) imposes only the minimum requirements and guides through the issuance of building permits, the responsibility of ensuring the structural soundness of their buildings still rests with the owners and the contractors.
“The National Building Code and the Civil Code of the Philippines place the responsibility and the accountability to the owners and their contractors to build their structures safe for occupancy,” Banez said.
The reminder was made in line with the city government’s disaster risk management thrust which she said compelled the CBAO to be more strict in imposing the safety requirements under the National Structural Code of the Philippines (NSCP), the Fire Code of the Philippines, the Mechanical Code and the recently approved Environmental Code of Baguio City.
She said the NSCP requires the structural design of buildings to withstand 6.5 magnitude earthquakes but in the case of the city, owners can “command their engineers to design their buildings sturdier to withstand up to 8 magnitude, though, it will cost much.”
As per the Environment Code, soil tests and slope stability tests should be conducted to determine the holding capacity of the lot and any additions or alterations of buildings should not be allowed unless reviewed and certified by an accredited structural engineer, Banez added.
Furthermore, the Fire Code and Mechanical Code require buildings to have fire alarm systems and firefighting paraphernalia. Firewalls should be built with fire-resistant materials and should have no opening .
Banez said that based on their monitoring and inspections, the most common violations found in city buildings were the non-provision of fire protective systems, elevators and the conversion of parking areas to rentable spaces.
To address the said violations, CBAO has initiated filing of cases in court against the erring owners for violation of the National Building Code. /Aileen P. Refuerzo