Building code unveiled

The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), together with the country’s housing industry stakeholders have developed the first-ever ‘Building Code’, aimed at providing guidance and standard requirements for the construction of private, public and industrial buildings.

The Building Code expected to be the blue-print for the country’s building and construction industry will seek to regulate the sector and provide set of rules that specify the standards from constructed objects such as building and non-building structures and which regulates the design and construction of these structures. It focuses on public health, safety, welfare, fire protection, structural efficiency and environmental integrity of the users.

The 38-part, 1700 page document covers all essential areas necessary for the smooth and safe operation of the building and construction industry such as Occupancy Classification and Use, Site Development and Land Use, General Building Heights and Areas, Types of Construction, Fire and Smoke Protection Features, Interior Furnishes, Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, Soils and Foundations, Electrical Systems and Allied Installations, Plumbing Systems, Lift and Conveying Systems, Safeguards during Construction and Green Building Requirements.

It sets out requirements and recommendations for efficiency standards for Residential and Non-Residential buildings and covers planning, management and practices in the construction of buildings.

Unveiling the Building Code at a ceremony in Accra which brought together industry experts Contractors, Real Estates Developers among other stakeholders, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, confirmed that the Code is a blue-print which has been developed with the assistance of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and it is expected to be a game-changer in the country’s building industry and ensure value for money.

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The document which will provide a benchmark against which all construction related procurement could be measured and guarantee quality and durability of building materials used in constructing schools, roads, hospitals and all types of public infrastructure, he said.

Dr. Bawumia indicated that building codes worldwide were essential components in the construction industry because they ensured uniformed cost for all types of constructions in the private, public and industrial buildings.

He said the outdooring of the Code and subsequent passage of the necessary legislation would address the issue of collapsing buildings due to shoddy works and make the country safer.

He charged the Ministry of Works and Housing to facilitate the passage of the Legislative Instrument (L.I. 1630) to enable the Code to work effectively and efficiently, adding that the country’s building construction industry must be regulated appropriately to guarantee public safety.

The Code, drafted by a 22-member Technical Committee from diverse professional backgrounds, and chaired by Mr. Seth Bright Attipoe-Denyah of Apro-Plan Consult Limited, was under the auspices of the Ministry of Works and Housing.

Dr. Bawumia said: “We continue to look unconcerned when the structures in the industry are put up without paying attention to the required rules and regulations.”

As the years go by, the building industry becomes characterised by complex constructions, therefore, it is important the necessary regulations are put in place and enforced to ensure sanity and bring about progress”.

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He said that the Code had come at an opportune time following the Government’s recent forum on “Value for Money,” which would provide standards for the construction of roads, hospitals and schools as well as ensure effective process for financial management of construction of projects.

“We will, therefore, ensure the availability of the Code throughout the country and at all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, training institutions and technical universities for training and education.”

He commended members of the Technical Committee for their dedication to duty and selflessness in coming out with the Code.

Samuel Atta Akyea, the Minister of Works and Housing, said that the Code is a world-class document, which is fit-for-purpose and underscored the need to strengthen the enforcement regime to derive the required benefit.

Mr. Seth Bright Attiope-Denyah presented an overview of the Code, noting that the Committee took six months to compile it, starting from November 10, 2017 to April, this year.

He said the Committee made reference to a number of local and international codes to come up with the Code so as to reflect international best practices.

A building code is a body of standardized technical knowledge and best practices of rules and regulations for construction and ancillary structures, he stated.

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