Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Central body needed to implement building code: Experts

A central authority, along with Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK), is needed to supervise the design of buildings and implementation of the building code in rural areas, (barring four authorities), according to experts. Sixty per cent buildings in rural areas remain vulnerable as these were constructed without following the building code or any professional engineer’s advice, the experts said. Most of these building designs were drafted and approved by local municipality registrars or constructed by masons without any expert supervision, they added.
Dr Mehedi Ahmed Ansary, professor of civil engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), told The Independent: “A central authority is the need of the hour to look after the construction-related issues on the outskirts of Dhaka and the other two central authorities. I think the involvement of RAJUK is essential in this central authority.”
To construct a risk-tolerant building, seven criteria should be followed. These criteria are: formulation of a powerful authority to implement the building code, involvement of outsourced consultancy firm and issuance of occupancy certificate to implement the building code, planned urbanisation with identified risks, increase of technical skill, increase of public awareness, ensuring quality construction materials and conversion of the building code into a law.
Owing to lack of implementation of the building code, many buildings had collapsed, including the buildings at Shakhari Bazar in 2004, Spectrum in 2005, Phoenix in 2006 and the recent tragic crumbling of Rana Plaza at Savar, on April 24 on 2013, the BUET professor said.
He further said that the central regulatory body should implement the building code in rural areas (at the district and upazila levels), including approval of designs, monitoring and control of the quality of construction materials.
Since formulating the building code in 2006, the government had not taken any initiative to implement the code fully, either in urban or rural areas, Ansary alleged.
He further said that the government should ensure punishment for violation of the building code.
According to Abdul Mannan, member of RAJUK, “There is no monitoring mechanism available in upazila and district levels to examine the building designs before approval. More than 60 per cent buildings in rural areas are highly vulnerable.”
The government should strengthen the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Urban Development Authority (UDA) to monitor the design and construction in rural areas, Abdul Mannan said.
He further said that the government should authorise the NHA and the UDA to take action against building code violators in rural areas. “Local chairpersons and municipality mayors are responsible for approving the designs. Most of them, however, do not take the help of experienced engineers in examining the designs. To save money, a majority of building owners construct their buildings based on the suggestions of masons,” he added.

Courtesy of The Independent

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