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Law mulled to compel engineering certification for buildings after quakes

A lawmaker will propose an ordinance requiring all establishments to submit their structural engineering certification to safeguard the integrity of the structure after an earthquake.

“This is to protect the people inside the buildings from damage and injuries,” said Councilor Bonifacio Militar, committee chair on housing and subdivision development (high-end projects).

He also said four committee hearings were already conducted, attended by the Philippine Society of Civil Engineers, Structural Engineers Association of Davao, and real property developers.

This idea, Militar said, came after some buildings were condemned due to the damage acquired following the series of earthquakes that hit Mindanao, particularly Davao Region.

“The purpose of this also is to see to it that our high-rise buildings, from first-story up to the highest, were inspected by the structural engineers,” he said.

He also said that buildings needed to be certified by engineers to ensure that the materials used are not substandard.

Reports from the City Building Official during the last earthquake revealed that there are some substandard materials which precipitated the damage of the condominium unit buildings.

“I am preparing the ordinance also so that all construction materials in the city are inspected,” he said.
“This is to ensure that the materials used for the construction of a building is not substandard.”

He said that construction materials displayed in hardware stores should also be certified from a testing institute in the city. “The protection of people from buildings must be prioritized,” he said.

Militar said that his committee will be deliberating the said proposed ordinance and file before to the council.

In a December 2019 interview, Allan Botuyan, who headed the Structural Engineers Association of Davao seminar, admitted that the city lacks evaluators of damaged buildings.

“This is to help civil engineers do a rapid assessment because we have insufficient evaluators for damaged building,” Botuyan told TIMES in an interview.

He is also urging structural engineers to “design their structural engineering design works properly so that the building may be constructed firmly, and can hold greater quake force.”

In November last year, Mayor Sara Duterte ordered to condemn two buildings of the Palmetto Place, another project of property developer DMC Urban Property Developers Inc. (DMC-UPDI), in Barangay Ma-a, Talomo District following the magnitude 6.5 earthquake.

In a statement issued by the City Information Office, inspectors found major cracks on the walls, beams, channels, and posts of Buildings 2 and 3 of the Palmetto Place.

Duterte had also ordered a probe on the actions of the City Engineer’s Office, Office of the City Building Official, and the Building Administrator’s Office of Ecoland Residences 4000 in relation to the collapse of the five-story Himeji building when the Magnitude 6.5 quake struck.

Duterte said school authorities should conduct earthquake and fire drills at least once a month and provide students with experts who can discuss with them stress, trauma, and anxiety. with MindaNews report

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