A 20-member Technical Committee to review the draft of the Ghana Building Code was inaugurated in Accra with a call on members to come out with a robust regulatory framework that would ensure easy compliance.
The Committee, made up of engineers, academia and experts in structural Techniques, had Mr Seth Bright-Attikpoe-Denyah, a Private Consultant as Chairman.
The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) in consultation with the Ministry of Works and Housing, sought sponsorship from the World Bank to develop the National Building Code. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group is providing technical support for the project, with funding from the Swiss Government. Mr Samuel Atta Akyae, the Minister of Works and Housing, in a speech read on his behalf, said the code would set out requirements and recommendations for efficient standards for both residential and non-residential buildings. He said building codes provide a set of uniform building requirements and standards, which set out acceptance levels of health and safety in buildings. He said the infrastructural needs of the country are many, and so there was the need to involve all stakeholders in the industry to shape the country’s Building code. Mr Akyea said in the preparation of the Ministry’s Sector Medium Term Development Plan, the inadequate maintenance of Government’s landed and immovable properties was attributed to the obsolete and non-functional Building Code for the management of government’s assets. He said the Ministry was pleased with government’s effort to develop the National Building Code with a draft Standard Procedure Manual to guide its validation and adoption before it is gazetted. He said: “It is the policy of Government to ensure the implementation of a national policy that would require every public building to install solar panels and water-harvesting technologies, to reduce the long term cost of ownership”. He commended the GSA, IFC and the World Bank for the technical and financial support they gave to the Ministry to ensure that the Building Code was validated and gazetted. Prof Alex Dodoo, the Director-General of GSA said the building and construction industry constitutes vital sectors that need to be regulated to ensure the health and safety of the public. He said there was the need to establish predictable and consistent minimum standards that would be applied to the quality and durability of construction materials. He said the code had to relate to all aspects of building construction, including fire protection, plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems, to ensure uniformity in the construction industry. That, he said, would guarantee safety and ensure hazard-free buildings in the country. Mr Kwasi Owusu Boadu, the Director of Standards at GSA, said the GSA is in charge of developing standards for both engineering and non-engineering products and services, and expressed their commitment to ensure standards are adhered to. He said after the drafting of the Standard, it would be circulated among stakeholders for their input and fine tuning of the document before it is registered and gazetted. Mr Attipoe-Denyah, on behalf of the Committee, thanked the Ministry for the confidence reposed in them and pledged their commitment to work and meet the deadline. He said the task given them was a huge one with a limited time to submit and urged members to sacrifice a little more to enable them to meet the deadline. The Committee is expected to submit its findings and recommendations within six months.