Old building owners told to retrofit, renovate structures

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BAGUIO CITY  – The city government is urging owners of old buildings to either retrofit or renovate their structures to conform to the standards of the new National Building Code and ensure the safety of their tenants and the public transacting business with the different establishments situated in the said structures.

City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said that the safety of new buildings is guaranteed as the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) made sure owners comply with the prescribed standards of the National Building Code requiring structures to be able to withstand a certain magnitude of an earthquake.

He said despite the limited personnel of the CBAO, inspections of old structures are being done to remind building owners to facilitate the retrofitting or renovation of their structures to comply with the prescribed standards set by the National Building Code.

Earlier, the city government already issued an order to the owner of the Bayanihan building to renovate the structure and that its existing tenants have been ordered to vacate the area to pave the way for such renovation.

On the other hand, the city government extended to the end of this year the deadline for tenants of the old Magsaysay building to vacate the spaces they are occupying to pave the way for its demolition and the eventual conversion of the area into an open parking while awaiting the proposed development of the city public market.

The city administrator claimed that for strong earthquakes stronger than the prescribed standards of buildings to withstand, there is nothing the city government can do but for a certain magnitude of earthquake that could be withstood by structures using the prescribed standards, these will likely withstand the said magnitude if all construction methods have strictly complied with.

According to him, owners of old buildings, especially those that were constructed in the early 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, must voluntarily retrofit or renovate their structures to avoid being issued closure orders by the concerned offices of the city government.

He explained the city government is inspecting buildings to ensure structures in the city will be safe for both the occupants and the transacting public and avoid the incidents that will compromise the safety of the public in times of emergencies.

Dela Peña also called on building owners to cooperate with the members of the city government’s inspection teams for them to get the appropriate recommendations from experts to address issues and not to blame the city government in the future for any untoward incident arising from their failure to comply with the prescribed standards for buildings.

He underscored that the city government will sustain the inspection of old and new buildings to monitor the compliance of the owners to the previous recommendations of experts on the safety of their structures considering the emerging threats of the occurrence of earthquakes.

By Dexter A. see

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