Builders urged to upgrade structure quake resistance standard to intensity 8

BAGUIO CITY – Owners and builders of public and private structures in the city have been urged to upgrade the earthquake resistance standard of their buildings to as high as intensity 8 to ensure the safety and soundness of these structures.

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 volition now use the intensity 7.2 benchmark, her office encourages everyone to still go beyond these levels for optimum safety.

During the City Hall Hour press forum last April 30, 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 have been 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 ones at present lack building permits thus 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 not its height determines its resiliency against earthquakes.

City Planning and Development Officer Engr. Evelyn Cayat said the city's susceptibility to earthquakes was integrated in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan in ways that all hazardous areas were declared as no-build zones and areas with higher slopes were declared as low density zones. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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