90-day building assessment set by DILG ‘not enough’

NOT enough.

This was what officials of the cities of Cebu and Mandaue said on the 90-day deadline set by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for local government units to submit a rapid structural assessment report on all buildings in case of a major earthquake.

In his order, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año ordered LGUs to submit structural assessment reports of buildings and infrastructures in their areas as part of the effort to fortify buildings and establishments in anticipation of a massive earthquake.

Año further said that failure to submit these reports to DILG and to the Department of Public Works and Highways will result to the local chief executive facing sanctions.

Insufficient

But for Cebu City Office of the Building Office (OBO) consultant Ariel dela Cruz, the 90-day deadline set by DILG is insufficient for them to inspect and collate the structural assessment of around 1,200 buildings in the city.

“It takes time to evaluate one building, 90 days is not enough. It takes one day to inspect a one two-story building,” dela Cruz told SunStar Cebu.

Dela Cruz, though, emphasized that only a visual rapid assessment is doable within the period given by the DILG.

But he also explained that a visual assessment will not suffice since it cannot guarantee on safe a building is.

He said a thorough inspection of the building has to be made to assure its stability.

He also said the DILG should consider letting LGUs conduct the inspection by cluster or by zoning.

He said the DILG should take into account the status of the cities “because there are cities which have more buildings than other cities or towns.”

To comply with the DILG’s directive, OBO Chief Florante Catalan devised a measure that will allow owners of government and privately-owned buildings to submit their structural certification to the City.

Catalan also urged building owners to have their structures checked every five years.

Assistance

Crystal Comon, head of Mandaue City’s OBO, also shared Dela Cruz’s assessment.

She admitted that it will be impossible to comply with the directive of the DILG since they have less than 10 personnel in their office.

Comon said she plans to ask Mayor Jonas Cortes to include the City Engineering Office in helping them conduct the rapid structural assessment of all structures in the city to comply with the DILG’s order.

She also suggested tapping other organizations, such as the Association of Structural Engineers in the Philippines Inc., to help them inspect government and private buildings as part of their corporate social responsibility.

“If the mayor says to intensify the assessment of buildings to comply with the DILG’s directive, then we will do so, even if it means declining daily applications for building inspections,” Comon told SunStar Cebu, in Cebuano. (JJL / KFD)