FOLLOWING the accident at the Cinema 5 of Ayala Center Cebu where nine people were injured, the Cebu City Government's Office of the Building Official (OBO) wants all business establishments to have a regular maintenance audit of their buildings.

City Engr. Jose Marie Poblete said that the maintenance audit will allow business owners to monitor the status of their buildings to keep the public safe.

"It will show a detailed assessment of the building," said Poblete.

He said that the standard is for building owners to hire private engineering firms to audit the building twice a year, to avoid partiality in the results and recommendations.

The maintenance audit from private firms will cost more compared to in-house inspection by a building's maintenance and engineering departments.

"It will really entail expenses because they will be hiring experts but as shown in the recent incident, it's not really reliable or good to relay on local maintenance group," Poblete said.

Defects

If the management of Ayala regularly did maintenance audit, Poblete said they could have determined the defects inside Cinema 5.

As of yesterday, Ayala has yet to determine what caused part of the ceiling to collapse.

Last Wednesday afternoon, OBO led by assistant chief architect Florante Catalan and the representatives of the Bureau of Fire and Protection and the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office inspected the place to determine the cause of the accident.

"Until now, we were not able to identify what caused the incident," Catalan said.

Because of that, OBO required the mall's engineering and maintenance unit to submit a report within seven days.

The City wants Ayala to conduct a hydro test, flood tests and fire protection test, among others, to determine if all of their safety features are functional.

Inspect

Following the incident last Monday, Mayor Michael Rama gave other cinema owners one week to inspect their facilities and buildings.

He met with the representatives of Ayala, Gaisano Country Mall and Oriente Theater.

Representatives from SM Cinema would have wanted to attend the meeting but the City Hall invitation did not reach them.