No OBO clearance required for Tower 3

File photo
File photo

THE Office of the Building Official said there is no clearance to issue for Tower 3, the building next to the fire-hit Tower 4 of Grand Residences in Barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City, because it is not subject to a stoppage order.

“We never tackled the Tower 3. So as of now we don’t have to do any clearances kay wa man sad mi stoppage dinha (we also don’t have a stoppage order for that),” Emmanuel Cuizon, assistant officer-in-charge of the Office of the Building Official (OBO), said Saturday, April 22, 2023.

However, he said they already inspected and visited Tower 3, the building which already had occupants before the fire.

“Ato na na gipabisita last Thursday. Gi-inspect nato ang area. So what we saw [is] they are doing some mitigating measures. Murag ila naman to gi-repair ang ilang fire pumps, as well as reconnection of their power, and as well as their water. Pero maghimo pa mi og further report for that, as well as amo pa na ipa-review sa among consultants,” Cuizon said.

(We inspected the area last Thursday. We saw that the developer was already doing some mitigating measures. It seems they had repaired their fire pumps, as well as reconnected their power and water. But we will still make a further report for that, as well as have it reviewed by our consultants.)

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama also visited the site on Saturday.

Cuizon’s comments were sought after residents of Tower 3 raised to SunStar Cebu Friday their concerns about having to return to their condominium units a week after a fire hit the nearby Tower 4. Tower 4 was unoccupied as it was still under construction.

Last Monday, April 17, City Building Official Florante Catalan issued a “Building Suspension Order” on the construction of the 35-story condominium building hit by the April 14 fire, which was Tower 4.

On Friday, some unit owners told SunStar that they were looking for a clearance on structural integrity and clearances from the fire department and OBO that their building was fully safe for occupancy.

However, Cuizon said since the issue was not about Tower 3, they did not tackle clearances for it.

They will still be doing further assessments and investigations for Tower 3.

Cuizon said they already “partially visited” Tower 3 where architects, and structural, electrical and mechanical engineers were able to check the area.

OBO expects the report by Monday or Tuesday, April 24 or 25.

Tower 3 residents had said that even if it was Tower 4 that was mainly hit by the fire, there had also been damage on the sixth and seventh floors of Tower 3.

Mayor visits

Mayor Rama told SunStar on Saturday that he had visited the sixth floor of Tower 3 and seen for himself the situation there, and assured that everything will be settled.

Rama said he also went up to the 21st floor of Tower 4, together with city government officials. Representatives from the national office of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) were also there.

“Ma han-ay ra gyud na. Gawas kon naay mga antagonistic na wa diri wa didto. But I am very optimistic that all’s well that ends well. Proactive action, very serious mga buhaton sa City Government,” Rama said.

(Everything will be settled unless there are antagonistic people who are irrational.)

Rama said the national BFP representatives started their investigation and inspection of the site Friday to determine the cause of the fire and the damage incurred.

The OBO gave its assurance that the City Government is “continuously monitoring” the developments and concerns on fires in the city.

Cuizon also clarified that the property recovery clearing permit (PRCP) from the BFP 7 was intended for Tower 4 only, the building that was directly hit by the April 14 fire.

Tower 3 residents had told SunStar that instead of the clearance from the OBO and the fire department that they had requested, management had presented them with the PRCP, which is limited to the “property recovery and retrieval of salvageable items of the property owner; removal of fire debris; clearing of unsafe areas; reconstruction; repair and complete structural demolition (if needed) of the damaged structure.”

In a meeting with the unit owners on April 20, a management representative said: “Our position is that the building is safe to be occupied,” according to a unit owner who spoke to SunStar Cebu Friday.

As of Friday, some unit owners had already gone back to their units.

As of this writing, OBO still awaits the incident report that the property management has to produce following OBO’s issuance of the building suspension order.

The expected contents of the document are the incident report, corrective actions, methodology, relevant documents, and a letter of justification why the OBO should lift the order, as indicated by the official order sent by OBO.

The developer has yet to issue a statement on the incident.


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