The Philippine Association of Building Administrators, Inc. (PABA) Condominium Management Association of the Philippines, Inc. (CMAP) Brief Position Paper on Republic Act No. 8495 (Philippine Mechanical Engineering Act of 1998, the need for implementing Rules and Regulations and possibility of exempting buildings and/or condominium buildings and similar entities from its coverage and other prayers: BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Republic Act No. 8495 was enacted in 1998 and referred to as the Philippine Mechanical Engineering Act. The Statement of Policy states the Government recognition of the importance of mechanical engineers in nation building and development and the promotion of sustainable human development among others. According to the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers, an accredited national organization, the new legislation bring a “wealth of new opportunities for the advancement of the mechanical engineering profession and the professionals” and serve as a catalyst in upgrading the mechanical engineering profession to cope with its role in nation building”. PSME further slated that the new law strengthens the licensing and regulation of the new mechanical engineering practice with the inclusion of renewable sources of energies and mobile mechanical driven equipment. According to the Act the practice of Mechanical Engineering includes consultation, valuation, investigation and management services requiring mechanical engineering knowledge; estimates for mechanical equipments, machinery or processes of any mechanical works, project or plants; management of mechanical equipment their supervision, operation or maintenance. The law also defined mechanical equipment or machinery and includes (as common in any existing building) pumps, hoist, elevators, escalators, walkways, air-conditioning, compressor’s; etc.). It is an encompassing definition. The law states that for the practice of mechanical engineering there are 3 categories and in the order of rank 1: Professional Mechanical Engineer (PME) 2 Mechanical Engineer (ME) and 3, Certified Plant Mechanic (CPM). Each of these categories are given certificates of Registration. For a Professional ME mere submission of his experience is sufficient while that of an ME and a CPM passing written examination is a requirement. In appreciating this law, it is very clear that the rationale and objective of RA 8495 is the promotion of the mechanical engineering profession and its elevation to the level of competency and standard of professional practice. SECTION 36 Section 36 of the Law requires that every mechanical work, project or plant in operation shall have a complement of resident licensed professional mechanical, (PME) mechanical engineer (ME) or certified plant mechanic (CPM) a) 100 KW not over 300KW - One certified plant mechanic or - One mechanical engineer or - One professional mechanical engineer Provided that every mechanical engineer work, project or plant operating more than ONE SHIFT every 24 hours shall have additional of above personnel for each and every additional shift. b) 300 KW not over 2,000 KW – same personnel except a certified plant mechanic (CPM). If more than one shift every 24 hours additional one ME or one PME. c) Over 2000 KW – one PME, additional PME if operation in more than one shift every 24 hours, UNDER SECTION 40 OF THE LAW The Professional Regulation Commission is the enforcement agency of the Board of Mechanical Engineering; implement the concerned provisions of the law and implement rules and regulations it adopted; conduct investigation of complaints including violations by the members of the law and prosecution, if warranted It confers on all duly constituted authorities through the officers of the law of the national provincial or municipal government to enforce the provisions of the act and prosecute violators. The penalty is administrative sanctions and upon conviction a fine not less than 50 thousand or more than 200 thousand or imprisonment not less than 6 months nor more than 6 years. OBSERVATIONS From its effectivity to 2009, eleven years passed. They said serious implementation of the law will be enforced. It was observed that during the interim period partial compliance was made thru certifications issued by the Local Government Officers. Except perhaps for malls, shopping areas, manufacturing plants and big enterprises compliance with the provisions of the act by owners of other entities were not made. The law and its provisions were not complied of by most apartment buildings, stand-alone buildings, for residences or for offices or commercial or combinations; subdivisions, housing complexes and more importantly condominiums. There was no information disseminated on the implementing rules and regulations and most building administrators were just advised to comply with the law and “complain” later. THE ENFORCEMENT In the latest communication, sent to building owners, building administrators and other entities owning structures with mechanical contrivances it was clearly stated that elevator permits mechanical permits, clearances, and others will not be issued by the building permits division until and unless compliance with the law by applicants are complied. The compliance include accomplishment of: 1. BME Form No. 5 (Revised in 1992) indicating list of the mechanical equipment and corresponding rating and number of units and other information required by the law. (This is to be signed by the PME/RME/ or CPM). 2. Notarized certification indication the name/names of the resident Professional Mechanical Engineer (PME) Registered Mechanical Engineer (RME) or Certified Plant Mechanic (CPE) in charge of the operation and maintenance of the installed mechanical equipment and machineries. 3. Professional license number of the PME/RME/or CPM engaged. 4. Section 34 of the law defining mechanical work project or plant in operation should be made clearer for the purpose of exempting some entities or structures which are not mechanical work project or plant in operation. For example a building whether for commercial, office or residential or combination is not per se the subject envisioned by law because it is not a mechanical work project or plant in operation. While the usual equipment or machinery in a building which are appurtenance, for example, elevators and qualify under Section b) of Section 3 of the Act the need for a professional mechanical engineer or a mechanical engineer is believed not necessary because of the maintenance agreement usually entered into between the building management and elevator supplier/service outfit. In the enumeration of the prime movers in Section b) of Section 3 of the Act it cited steam engines and turbines, internal combustion engines, steam generators which include boiler, furnaces, heat exchanger such as cooling towers, kilns, dryers, etc. These are machineries not present nor used in a building. The most common equipment in a building are the ELEVATOR, AIRCONDITIONING, WATER and SUMPS PUMPS. These are facilities in a building. The elevator is maintained and ocularly inspected by the elevator supplier under a maintenance contract; central airconditioning system likewise operate and monitored under a maintenance contract too, to minimize power cost and maintenance expenses while water and sump pumps operates efficiently for long periods without need of regular monthly check-up. These are facts circumstances supporting possible exemptions from coverage of the act. 5. It is believed that the Act shall be complied with those works, projects or plants enumerated in Subsection c) of Section 3 of the Act but those entities like buildings, apartments, stand-up structures operated without the high profile gadgets and machineries should not be required to comply with Section 34 of the Act because it is believed there is no need for a Certified Plant Mechanic (CPM) or Mechanical Engineer (ME) or Professional Mechanical Engineer (PME) to be present in its operations. 6. The availment of the members of this profession will result in additional budgetary expense for buildings especially condominiums which are non-stock, non-profit corporations. 7. It is also believed that there is not enough personalities in the profession to suit for the number of apartments, residences in buildings, condominiums, subdivisions, etc. 8. The statement that there will be no issuance of permits by the local authorities until compliance with the Act is made (or sufficiently proven) appears not right because, there is no justified connection with compliance of local requirements and the observance of the provisions of the law. Else, there is some kind of intimidation. Applicants for local government permits will be disadvantaged if it is not given because compliance with Act 8495 is not made. In the absence of permits a building or a condominium corporation will have difficulty of getting monetary claims out of a compensable event simply because a permit is not issued or there is delay in permit issuance. As an outline, our organization composed mostly of building managers, building administrators and heads of building operations, presents our understanding and belief of said law. 1. We are seeking deferment of the act for at least one year until furnished with the implementing rules and regulations and in the interim (for those clearly embraced by the Acts provisions) be allowed to avail of the services of a professional mechanical engineer or a mechanical engineer or a certified plant mechanic thru retainership agreement. 2. The implementing rules and regulations should be more precise on the definition of what is mechanical work, project or plant. The mere presence of an elevator, an air-conditioning system and such simple contrivance as a water or sump pump does not pre qualify a building as a mechanical work, project or plant to place it within the coverage of the Act. 3. The local building officials in implementing RA 8495 should not deny, delay or withhold the release of permits, clearances or certificate if all the requirements for the application are complied. To deny, delay or withhold the issuance because the applicant has not submitted with the requirements of RA 8495 is a different kind of application processing because in reality it will be difficult to avail of the services of mechanical engineers within a short period of time. 4. The Professional Regulation Commission should provide a list of available professional mechanical engineers, mechanical engineers or certified plant mechanics and have it circulated to entities subject to the Act. 5. Reduce the requirement of the law since individual unit are titled and building organization tend only the common area equipment of the building.