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National Building Code of the Philippines: Explained

Anyone who’s ever been involved with a real estate project should be familiar with the National Building Code of the Philippines. But even they would do well to bookmark a summary of the law’s latest edition for future reference.

If you’re a private individual planning to construct a new home or office or just do some renovations in your house, you’d also best read up on the National Building Code of the Philippines. You’d be surprised to learn that some very specific rules govern the building of a property.

Here’s all you need to know about the National Building Code.

What is the National Building Code of the Philippines?

The National Building Code of the Philippines is a law composed of a standardized set of rules and regulations about the construction and renovation of real estate projects in the country. As demand for housing and other buildings grows, so does the need for provisions to keep real estate developers, architects, engineers, and builders in line.

In general, building codes act as foundation guidelines for the construction of safe structures. They typically involve not only the buildings’ construction but also their maintenance, use, and occupancy in the interest of public health and safety.

History of the National Building Code of the Philippines 

In the 1970s, the rising urbanization and growing population in the Philippines led to the creation of Republic Act No. 6541, also known as “An Act to Ordain and Institute a National Building Code of the Philippines.” The provisions of the Code involved “the construction, alteration, design, location, siting, conversion, use, repair, occupancy, maintenance, moving, the demolition of, and addition to, public and private buildings and structures.”

In 1977, Presidential Decree 1096 replaced the Republic Act No. 6541.

Also known as “Adopting a National Building Code of the Philippines Thereby Revising Republic Act Numbered Sixty-Five Hundred Forty-One,” P.D. 1096 was signed by then-president Ferdinand E. Marcos. It emphasized technical services and assistance and standardized building requirements.

In 2005, the National Building Code got a revision once again. Its set of rules and regulations is still the version that the real estate and construction industries use today. Titled “Implementing Rules and Regulations of the National Building Code of the Philippines,” the latest version’s foreword states that the 1977 National Building Code had “achieved the purpose of enforcing uniform standards and requirements on building design, construction, use, occupancy and maintenance in line with the policy of the state to safeguard life, health, property, and public welfare.” The 2005 Code came into existence to update and emphasize provisions of the original version according to technological developments and issues of urban planning.

What is a building permit?

Owners should secure a building permit to legally commence the demolition, repair, or construction of any building. You can acquire this permit from building officials assigned to their area. These officials must inspect building sites to make sure they are following the rules and regulations stipulated in the Code.

If the building official finds that the site violates the Code in any way, they may choose to halt construction and identify the appropriate changes before the building can resume.

Applying for a Building Permit

Applying for a building permit requires you to fill out the necessary application forms and submit other related documents.

For instance, if you’re the owner of a lot that needs a permit, you’d need to submit:

1. a certified true copy of the original or transfer of certificate of title of the land

2. your tax declaration

3. your current real property tax receipt

If you aren’t the owner of the lot, you’d have to submit all the above plus:

1. a duly notarized copy of the Contract of Lease or Deed of Absolute Sale.

The rest of the required documents have to do with survey plans, architectural plans, interior design, fire safety, mechanical plans, sanitary plans, and electronic plans. Aside from this, you would have to detail the planned use or occupancy for the proposed work as well as the project’s estimated cost.

Building Permit Processing 

Once the applicant submits all requirements, the building official and their staff must inspect the construction zone, process the building permit, and ensure that the applicant adheres to the provisions of the Code.

The building owner, on the other hand, must hire a licensed architect or civil engineer outside of the project to inspect the construction zone full-time. Construction progress must be posted in an official logbook to be submitted to the building official by the end of the project.

The team behind the project must also submit a Certificate of Project Completion that states they adhered to the provisions of the Code.

They then should file for a Certificate of Occupancy once there is an approval of the completed project. Without it, no one can occupy the building.

Exemptions to the Building Code 

Section 209 of the 2005 Code lists public buildings and traditional indigenous family dwellings as exempt from payment of building permit fees. These structures must use native materials such as nipa, bamboo, lumber, or logs, all amounting to P15,000 or less.

What’s next for the National Building Code?

Since it’s been almost two decades since the revision of the Code, quite a few industry experts have voiced concerns that it has become outdated. They feel that it might be time for a new revision soon.

For instance, lawmakers filed House Bill 5607, an act aiming to mandate a comprehensive nationwide inspection of buildings and impose “stiff penalties against building officials who violate the pertinent provisions” of the Code.

Senate Bill 2087, on the other hand, sought to create an entirely new Code with different standards regarding disaster resiliency and provisions in consideration of human health.

Why You Should Care About the Building Code

The National Building Code of the Philippines is the reason we’re able to sleep in our homes, shop at our favorite malls, and work at our offices without having to worry about our safety.

The Code ensures that these structures can withstand natural calamities, which is especially important if one lives in a high-risk area.

Whether you’re part of the real estate or construction industry or just interested in how building safety works, you should check out the latest edition of the National Building Code–or at least its summary!

Now, it’s time to learn about land titles and land registration.

For more information on real estate plus other interesting articles on places and structures in the country, check out and bookmark our official blog page, enta.ph/resources.