With the recent earthquakes and consequent aftershocks, the Office of the City Building Official (OCBO) urged building owners in the city to ensure the integrity of their establishments through thorough and prompt building assessments.

OCBO’s Officer-in-Charge, Arch. Khashayar L. Toghyani told the Madayaw Program over the city-owned Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) that with the frequency of the earthquakes, developers should be proactive in conducting assessments in their buildings and communicating with their office regarding the damages and their repair plans.

“‘Pag naa’y linog, the first thing you do is i-contact ninyo inyohang mga professionals: contact ninyo inyohang mga engineer, inyohang construction team. Have a thorough assessment (In the event of an earthquake, the first thing that you have to do is communicate with your engineers, and your construction team, and conduct a thorough assessment),” Toghyani reminds developers.

Unlike public buildings that the OCBO can directly access, it is the responsibility of private building owners and their structural engineers to conduct inspections of their establishments. The findings of the assessment must be submitted to the OCBO and only then can the office conduct proper actions to aid the developers, according to Toghyani.

Toghyani also mentioned that the inspections of the buildings in the city are still ongoing, and currently, they have identified three buildings that have sustained damages and are advised for urgent repairs.

“Ang atoang inspection padayon kay sige man og aftershocks, so katong mga naa mi na note nga naa’y problema ginabalikbalikan gyud namo para makita namo kung nidako ba ang mga liki, o kung okay pa ba siya, o kung kinahanglan na nato isara, ipavacate sa nato hangtod marepair (Since there are still aftershocks, our building inspections are still ongoing. We would continuously assess the buildings that we have noted to have sustained damages to check whether the cracks have worsened, or if the building already needs to be closed down and vacated to give way to repairs),” he said.

Toghyani also reminded developers and engineers that assessments should not only focus on structural defects but also fire safety considering that one of the effects of earthquakes may involve fire incidents. He also said that they need to look into the functionality of their fire exits to avoid accidents during evacuation.

OCBO further urged developers to report the damages incurred by their buildings rather than withholding the information so that the office may be able to assist, and to ensure the safety of their tenants or occupants.

“Kinahanglan naa mo’y sense of urgency labi na kung daghan mo’g tenants or occupants, you have it assessed, communicate with our team so that we can check kung safe ba puy-an ang inyohang building kay ang primary concern nato diha ang safety gyud (You need to have a sense of urgency, especially when you have numerous tenants or occupants. You get your buildings assessed, communicate with our team so that we can check whether or not your building is still safe for occupancy since safety is our primary concern),” Toghyani reiterated. CIO