AFTER excavation work caused the collapse of a portion of Juanita Building last Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, the Cebu City Office of the Building Official (OBO) said it had suspended the excavation for the foundation of the 26-story Vista Suarez Cebu in Barangay Kamputhaw last April yet, after the contractor of an adjacent building project filed a complaint.
Florente Catalan, OBO chief, said the complaint was received during the time of his predecessor, Josefa Ylanan.
The contractor of the adjacent building project, which is located on the same side as Juanita Bldg., had said their work would be affected by the excavation.
However, the suspension was lifted when the contractor of Vista Suarez Cebu came up with a solution.
Ylanan had called the structural engineer of both projects to a meeting. After a few weeks of discussions, Corrtech Inc., the sub-contractor of IPM Construction and Development Corp., which is the general contractor of Vista Suarez Cebu, resumed digging.
Although the management of Juanita Bldg. did not complain about the excavation, its tenants complained about losing their parking space to the construction, Ylanan said.
In the latest incident, Catalan said his office received the incident report at 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, or 15 hours after the collapse of the retaining wall that separated the excavation from the four-story Juanita Bldg., which used to house the office of the Social Security System.
The OBO chief visited the site on Tuesday, Aug. 6, where he learned that engineers from Manila had arrived to deal with the problem.
Catalan said the contractor of Vista Suarez Cebu had a permit for the excavation and the retaining wall. The contractor also did not violate the setback rule.
However, the cease and desist order to stop the digging will remain until the contractor can come up with a solution to the problem of Juanita Bldg. and ensure that the incident will not happen again.
City Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure, who also visited the site, said the contractor must adopt a standard for excavation, especially if the depth of the building’s foundation reaches five stories.
Meanwhile, workers and business owners affected by the collapse want to meet with the owner of Juanita Bldg.
“We haven’t talked with the management yet. I think we need to get their side, talk to them about what assistance they can provide,” said Lloyd Suico, owner of a travel agency housed in Juanita Bldg.
Suico said any assistance will do, considering they’ve been a tenant of the building since 2011.
Suico and members of his staff were retrieving office equipment and important documents like business permits last Tuesday.
Suico acknowledged that what happened was an accident and no one was to blame, but the building owner still had an obligation to its tenants. (From PAC of SuperBalita Cebu, PJB, JJL)