Topic: Government Policies
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I noticed a number of references to the National Building Code in the Bureau of Standards Jamaica advertisement in The Gleaner's Wednesday Business section, and wondered what has become of the promised legislation and national building-control framework.
In your Editor's Forum, published on February 7, experts discussed lessons learnt from the Haitian earthquake six months ago, and stated that "the failure of successive governments to pass legislation to introduce a national building code could put the lives of many Jamaicans at risk if the country gets hit by a major earthquake." Your editorial of February 10 even noted that "substantial work has already been done on a code for Jamaica. It ought to be possible to complete the relevant law, in relatively short order, and have it passed by Parliament."
No word of progress
In an article titled 'New Building Codes Coming', on April 4, it was even stated that "Cabinet has issued instruction for the drafting of legislation to establish a national control framework for the island." Three months later, there is still no word of progress made. Late in 2004, I was involved in one of the several working groups charged with the review and adoption of the International Code Council's [ICC] 2003 edition of the International Building Code [IBC]. So, I can speak to the dedication and effort made by local academics, architects, engineers and lawyers, who volunteered their time to complete that goal. Work was completed in approximately one year and emphasis shifted to training. In the meantime, ICC was consistently revised by IBC on a three-year cycle. So, the code reviewed has been revised twice so far - in 2006 and 2009.
The longer Parliament takes to deal with this matter, the more outdated the work becomes. I would hope that we could see Parliament pass the relevant law before the international code is again revised.
I am, etc.
Paul Hay BA (Arch.),
PAUL HAY Capital Projects