Makati moves to create more disaster-resilient buildings
MAKATI CITY, July 7 (PIA) -- The local government through the Office of the Building Official (OBO) has urged all building owners and administrators of high and medium-rise buildings, and all contractors and developers of ongoing construction, demolition or excavation projects in the city to strictly observe safety precautions to mitigate the risks posed by typhoons and other natural and human-induced disasters.
In a statement sent to PIA-NCR, Engr. Nelson Morales, building official and city engineer, enumerated safety precautions for four categories: existing buildings; ongoing construction, demolition or excavation; mechanical equipment on jobsite; and existing billboard/signage/LED structures.
“We need the full cooperation of private building owners and developers to minimize, if not totally prevent, loss of lives and damage to properties during typhoons, earthquakes and other forms of natural disasters, and during emergencies,” Morales said.
The building official reiterated an earlier directive for structures built 15 years ago or longer to submit a Certification on its structural soundness and stability duly signed and sealed by a private Structural Engineer. He also reminded owners and developers to install a Seismograph in existing high-rise buildings and those under construction to monitor the building’s response to ground movement from earthquakes and to strong typhoons. The said provisions are also contained in the National Structural Code of the Philippines.
Other safety precautions that high rise and medium rise buildings must observe include keeping all exits unobstructed and passable at all times, with illuminated exit signs properly installed. In case of fire, all fire suppression systems must be able to operate on automatic mode, while every floor must have fire hose cabinets and well-maintained fire ladder, and every unit must have functional fire extinguishers. Each building should be equipped with a standby generator for brownouts and working emergency lights strategically placed along hallways to provide adequate lighting, especially during evacuation and rescue operations.
During emergencies, all mechanical ventilation should be in automatic mode, especially pressurization blowers and smoke evacuation fans, and all elevators should rest at the ground level.
Whenever a typhoon is expected to pass at or near a construction or demolition site, all construction materials, equipment and scaffolds should be secured against displacement by strong winds. Construction sheds, temporary light and power, mechanical equipment, protective canopy and nets should be adequately braced and fastened to prevent them from collapsing and hurting workers and passersby.
Moreover, contractors must see to it that the sides of every excavation, including trenches for pipes, should be checked regularly especially during heavy rains to prevent soil from caving in. Meanwhile, existing footings or foundation of any building, public utilities and underground facilities should be underpinned, braced or shored adequately and protected from settlement regularly to remain stable and safe for the public. Regular de-clogging of drainage surrounding the construction site must be conducted and a Maintenance Report must be submitted monthly to City Hall until the project is completed.
At the jobsite, construction personnel and project and safety engineers should be well-versed with safety measures in times of disaster or emergency, such as stopping the operations of all mechanical equipment such as tower cranes and putting them on free wheel mode if the circular path is not obstructed. Construction elevators should rest at the ground levels when not in use and during emergencies, while the construction elevator cage should be free of any obstruction so as not to block wind flow. All loose mechanical components of construction equipment and devices should also be properly secured and adjusted at all times.
If an accident occurs at a construction site despite safety precautions, which results in serious injuries or death, the contractor/building owner or its project and safety Engineer is required to report the incident within eight working hours to the Makati Police and the OBO of Makati.
For existing billboard/signage structures and LED information signages in Makati, advertisers and owners are reminded to automatically roll down and turn them all off upon the official announcement of any weather disturbance in Metro Manila by PAGASA.
The Enforcement Division of the OBO, together with cluster supervisors from DEPW will be conducting random checks on the sites to ensure strict compliance of the said directives, Morales said. (ICRD/RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)