Architects’ group wants stricter issuance of building permits

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United Architects of the Philippines is seeking to raise awareness of illegally-constructed structures that pose risks to the public. -- REUTERS

By Bjorn Biel M. Beltran
Special Features Writer

THE United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) reiterated the need for more stringent procedures in the issuance of building and construction permits, particularly in the implementation of ancillary architectural permits as mentioned in the National Building Code of the Philippines.

During a forum with the media on Feb. 18, UAP President Benjamin Panganiban, Jr. said the strict issuance of permits will discourage illegal, unlicensed practitioners from preparing and sealing architectural plans, specifications and other documents.

“It is imperative to have the right professionals who will sign those permits,” he told the press, noting that non-architects pose a significant risk to the public’s safety.

“No other technical allied profession comes close to the learnings and knowledge of the architects. These structures should be developed by the right professionals who are licensed and registered [by the government],” he added.

By implementing concrete measures against illegal practitioners, Mr. Panganiban said there would be more accountability in cases of misfortune, as there are legal protocols in place for identifying those who should be liable in case of a building’s collapse.

“Many people think that being an architect is just about being good at drawing, but it’s more than that,” UAP Secretary General Ronnie Yumang told the media.

“Most people ask an architecture student to draw for them, and then they build their homes using that drawing without seeking the professional expertise of a licensed architect and this puts the safety of people at risk.”

The call is in line with the UAP’s #GetAnArchitect advocacy campaign, which seeks to develop a variety of initiatives to promote architecture as a profession, highlight its spirit in an informative way, and encourage the public to advocate for safer, healthier, accessible homes, businesses, and communities.

Mr. Panganiban said the #GetAnArchitect campaign came into fruition as they looked for opportunities to engage and communicate with the public and stakeholders how architects “work with them, design solutions, transform communities, and strengthen society.”

Meanwhile, the UAP announced its plans for UAP Construction Expo 2020 (CONEX), which aims to gather the country’s construction industry sectors to demonstrate state of the art products and to promote new technologies, equipment, and materials to the Philippine market.

To be held on April 23 to 25 at the SMX Convention Center, the convention will be centered on the theme of “fusion.”