• Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | In a significant development, owners of collapsed buildings will be compelled to compensate victims, including fatalities, if the proposed amendments to the Building Control Act of 2013 are implemented.

Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, the Minister of Works and Transport, announced these forthcoming changes at the Kampala City Building Control Barraza.

The purpose of these amendments is to address the existing loopholes in the current legislation and ensure accountability in the construction sector.

Under the proposed amendments, developers who authorise the construction of buildings without obtaining approval from relevant authorities or engage unprofessional engineers and architects will bear full responsibility in the event of accidents on their sites. This move aims to promote adherence to proper construction practices and discourage shortcuts that compromise safety.

Minister Katumba explained that the amendment process involves going through Cabinet, where the principles have already been approved.

“We are going through Cabinet where we have already taken the principles which are going to be sent to the Parliamentary Council for drafting and after we shall go to Parliament and amend but for now what I can say is that it is a process which I can’t put a time frame when it will be done,” he said.

These principles will then be forwarded to the Parliamentary Council for drafting, and subsequently, the amendments will be presented to Parliament.

However, the minister refrained from providing a specific timeline for the completion of this process, emphasizing that it is an intricate procedure.

The need for these amendments arises from the recognition of existing weaknesses within the current Act, particularly about the National Building Review Board (NBRB) and its limited enforcement capabilities.

The proposed amendments seek to grant the NBRB enhanced authority, allowing them, for instance, the power to gain entry to construction sites, a prerogative currently prohibited by the law.

“We have realised that there are weaknesses in the current Act, especially when these NBRB (National Building Review Board) want to implement some of their mandates. In the new amendments, we want to give them more authority so that they can be able to bite, for example for now they cannot force entry into a construction site because the law doesn’t allow them…,” Gen Katumba added.

Gen Katumba further highlighted that the collapse of several buildings in the country can be attributed to developers employing unprofessional individuals to cut costs.

The Ministry of Works and Transport recently conducted a mini-study in Kampala, revealing that out of 5,640 buildings examined, only 1,500 had been constructed by qualified professionals. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need to address the issue and ensure that buildings meet proper standards and regulations.

The Kampala City Building Control Barraza, organized by the NBRB, focused on the theme of establishing a well-planned, decent, and safe Kampala city.

Flavia Gutto Bwire, the executive director of the NBRB, emphasized the importance of empowering the public with knowledge of their building rights and the necessary guidelines to construct safe structures.

She expressed concern over instances where individuals apply for building licenses on land that does not belong to them, resulting in the forceful demolition of such buildings. Preventing these scenarios from recurring is a key objective.

In response to concerns raised during the Barraza, Salim Uhuru, the Mayor of Kampala Central, criticised the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) for delays in approving building plans.

He attributed these delays to the construction of buildings without proper plans.

Peter Paul Wanyama, the building control officer at KCCA, acknowledged the issue and revealed that 60 per cent of the building plans submitted by developers are consistently inadequate, leading to prolonged approval processes.


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