‘People should conform to building codes for their own safety’

Staff Correspondent . Dhaka | Update:

Participants pose for a photograph at a Prothom Alo roundtable on enforcing the building code at CA Bhaban in Karwan Bazar on Wednesday. Photo: Sabina YesminProper implementation of the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) is key to making the buildings in the country safe and prevent manmade disasters, experts said at a roundtable on Wednesday.

More than one speaker maintained that people should be made aware that conforming to building codes is necessary for their own good and safety.

Prothom Alo, in association with International Code Council, Smart Development Engineers (SDE) and Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), organised the roundtable titled 'Enforcing building code and strategies to implement'.

The new BNBC is in its final stages of getting approved.

Besides Dhaka and other city areas, the building code is necessary for the remote areas as well since nowadays high-rise buildings are also being built there, said national professor and University of Asia Pacific vice chancellor Jamilur Reza Choudhury.

Lamenting that the existing building code was developed in 1993 and has not been updated since then, he said, "Perhaps no other country follows such an old building code."

He hoped that the authorities would soon pass the new one.

Rajuk's Urban Resilence Project team leader SK Ghosh said, “About 99 per cent of the buildings don’t take occupancy certificate. The authorities should give this issue due importance.”

Jamilur Reza Choudhury suggested that there could be a QR Code installed in every building to check the occupancy certificate.

Rajuk chief engineer Abdul Latif Helaly said building code compliance would prevent the risk of disaster by 80 per cent.

Architect Salma A Shafi of Center for Urban Studies said there should be a Bangla and concise version of the policy so that mass people could understand it.

Center for Housing and Building Research executive director Mohammad Abu Sadeque said that the main challenge in enforcing building code is the absence of implementation policies as they are mostly ad-hoc and incongruous.

He said failing to bring uniformity among different policies would become a stumbling block in implementing the building code.

Professor of Bangladesh Universtiy of Engineering and Technology Khan Mahmud Amanat said there should be offices of Building Regulatory Authority in every district and they should cover every building in the country.

Building Technology and Idea managing director FR Khan said the authorities could give incentive to those who conform to the building code.

Institute of Architects of Bangladesh (IAB) president Jalal Ahmed urged the authorities to organise training programmmes for the stakeholders for a successful implementation of the BNBC.

Former chief engineer of Rajuk Md Emdadul Islam said it was necessary to update the building code every one or two years.

Former director general of Fire Service and Civil Defense Ali Ahmed Khan, managing director of Building for Future Tanvirul Haque Probal, senior disaster management specialist at World Bank Dhaka Swarna Kazi and Creato Design Research Lab’s Sumaya Islam, among others, also spoke at the programme.

Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayyum and special affairs coordinator Firoz Choudhury jointly moderated the roundtable. 

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