Today's Punto
Today's Punto
DPWH ready with new PHL Building Act
Sensitive to climate change disaster risks
By Ding Cervantes

May 17, 2018

CLARK FREEPORT - The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is set to present to Congress its final proposal for a Philippine Building Act to replace the 1977 vintage National Building Code, based on the government’s duty to “safeguard the life, health, property and public welfare consistent with principles of sustainable development” amid disaster risks.

In the News@Hues press forum at Park Inn by Radisson Clark here the other day, Public Works Undersecretary Karen Jimeno said the proposal, soon to be presented for legislative action, was also based on the United Nations framework for disaster risk reduction (DRR) for 2017 to 2030, as fi nalized in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.

(Jimeno on Wednesday was appointed by President Duterte as undersecretary for disaster resiliency under the Presidential Management Staff , which is under the Office of the President.)

Jimeno noted that the Sendai framework aimed to “substantially reduce global disaster mortality, substantially reduce the number of affected people, reduce direct economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product, substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services.”

Under the proposed Philippine Building Act, details for quality of buildings are detailed, the list of those tasked to ensure the quality and safety of buildings is longer, penalties for law violaters are stiffer.

Jimeno said the proposal’s general provisions cover “classification of buildings; location, siting, and zoning requirements, design requirements; construction requirements; building materials; occupancy, maintenance, and abatement of buildings; administration; permits and inspections; incentives and penalties, and final provisions.”

“The objective of the proposal is also to reduce and manage hazards, exposures, and vulnerabilities, thereby minimizing disaster risk,” Jimeno said.

At present, the law identified accredited persons in building concerns are limited to building contractor and building professional.

Under the proposed law, they would include a building certifier, structure peer reviewer, testing laboratory personnel and, building inspector.

Jimeno also noted that under the proposal, violations would comprise criminal liability that could lead to imprisonment lasting from six months to six years.

The proposal also mandates that building materials be selected “following a set of criteria including but not limited to strength, fire, resistivity, moisture resistance, durability, and sustainability.”

It also covers proposed design requirements on “stability, protection from fire, protection from moisture and surface water, protection from other hazards, safety of users or occupants, access, energy and energy efficiency, Jimeno said.

It also said that “buildings and structures on special sites shall consider special design requirements and risk mitigation measures called for by the specific site conditions.”

Jimeno also said the proposal zeroes in on resilience of buildings by ensuring the integration “disaster risk reduction and management measures in the rules and regulations for planning, designing and reconstructing of buildings and structures.”

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