BAGUIO CITY – The City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) announced that it has an ongoing program to ascertain the actual number of buildings in the city which will be readily available by the end of this year.
City Building Official Engr. Nazita Bañez said that the local government embarked on a program that will make available to the public the actual number of buildings in the city as well as their classifications to serve as a guide for policy makers and decision makers in the crafting and formulation of policies related to the regulation of structures in built up areas.
“We will have the data on the actual number of buildings in the city by December once our ongoing program will be completed. We have initial figures but we will defer to the results of our ongoing program so that we will be able to have a concrete data for reference and other purposes that it may serve,” Bañez stressed.
The CBAO is the department of the local government in charge of the processing and issuance of permits to individuals wanting to construct their residential, commercial or industrial structures, as well as monitoring of the compliance of building owners to existing laws, rules and regulations to guarantee safety.
The city building official claimed the processing and issuance of building permits to interested building owners is pursuant to the prescribed guidelines, including the imposition of the height limit on the proposed structures, especially in identified hazardous areas wherein appropriate mitigating measures must have to be instituted before any construction takes place.
However, the local government can no longer reverse the decision of the Secretary of Public Works and Highways that is empowered to grant exemptions on the building height limit as enshrined in the National Building Code or Presidential Decree (PD) 1096.
The city building official is the only department head that is not under the supervision and control of the local chief executive but under the direct supervision and control of the Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
One of the practices of building owners whose applications for the construction of high-rise buildings in the city have been denied, appeal the denial to the DPWH central office and almost all such requests had been granted, thereby reversing the earlier decision of the local government to deny the same as it is in violation of the existing height limits as mandated under existing local ordinances, thus, all the existing high rise structures in the city that were denied by the local government were built due to the exceptions granted by the DPWH central office.
Earlier, the local government imposed an 8-storey building height limit to any structure constructed in the city after the magnitude 7.9 killer earthquake on July 16, 1990 that nearly sent the Summer Capital into rubbles.
The imposition of the building height limit was eventually relaxed so that the height of the proposed structures will be based on the results of the soil test done to ascertain the capability of the solid and rock formations in the prospective area to handle the presence of high rise structures.
By Dexter A. See