By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – This city’s chief building engineer urged owners and builders of public and private structures to upgrade the earthquake resistance standard of their buildings to as high as Intensity 8 to ensure optimum safety of both the structure and its occupants.
City Building Official Engr. Nazita Banez, said that while the National Structural Code of the Philippines still requires designs to withstand intensity 6.5 temblors, and private engineers on their own initiative now use the intensity 7.2 benchmark, her office encourages everyone to still go beyond these levels.
During the City Hall Hour press forum, Banez said the structural resiliency of the city’s structures depends on whether these were built according to the approved standards set in the building permits.
Banez said when structures are issued building permits, their integrity is assured provided that the building specifications are strictly followed.
However, a lot of structures in the city, particularly residential properties, lack building permits. As such, their integrity cannot be measured.
Banez encouraged those without permits to apply for one even as she appealed to private engineers and architects to be prudent in charging fees to applicants so as not to discourage them from securing government permits.
Banez said a report reached her office that some private practitioners charge hefty amounts allegedly for the permit processing.
She clarified that the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) only charges minimal fees of P6,000 per every 100 square meters for the permit.
An applicant, however, has to secure the services of private engineers and architects for their plans, bill of materials, structural design and soil analysis but these should be based on the standard professional fees of these practitioners.
Banez also clarified that the building’s integrity, and not its height, determines its resiliency against earthquakes.