The Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Professor Alex Dodoo, has called on all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to take immediate steps to enforce the new Ghana Building and Construction Code as a matter of necessity.
He said the enforcement process must be such that permits for all new buildings should be based on the quality of the test results on building materials.
Prof. Dodoo also stressed that “The enforcement of the new building code must take retrospective effect purely because there is technology called retrofitting that can test the efficacy of existing buildings to know if they are fit for occupancy. If the buildings were not properly built at the time the law was made, they can be retrofitted,” he stressed.
Prof. Dodoo, who made the call at a sensitisation workshop yesterday for top officials of the 29 MMDAs in the Greater Accra Region, stressed that the enforcement exercise must begin with public buildings, including places of worship and state institutions.
The sensitisation workshop was held on the theme: “Decentralising quality infrastructure to facilitate trade and protect consumers.”
It was meant to educate the metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs), engineers and technocrats on the building code and its implementation process.
All the 29 MMDAs were presented with copies of the 400-page document.
The code is a comprehensive document that covers all aspects of building and construction, ranging from soil testing, quality of building materials, roofing, fire-fighting to accessibility for persons with disability (PWDs).
It provides clear guidelines about where to build, the materials to use, specifications for constructing exits, lifts and other essential components of buildings.
Prof. Dodoo said strict adherence to the building code would not only guarantee the safety of occupants of public buildings but would also create many job opportunities along the value chain.
“When MMDAs strictly enforce the building code, we will be creating at least 10,000 jobs along the value chain because every stage of the building process requires permitting and testing for quality work.”
“If all the 216 MMDAs enforce the code, what it means is that we have to hire engineers to do the testing; people will also be testing for soil, fire safety, stress on buildings, and this will create a lot of jobs. The GSA will also be testing for buildings’ efficacy by the second,” he said.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Ishmael Ashitey, welcomed the call on MMDAs to religiously enforce the building code, stressing that unplanned buildings which were the result of weak regulatory and permitting regimes, posed serious development challenges to assemblies and societies as a whole.
“I, therefore, welcome the collaboration between the GSA and the Office of the Local Government Service (OLGS) to streamline the building process. I am even happier that the Greater Accra Region has been chosen as the first place to roll out the enforcement regime by the MMDAs,” he said.
He said he was confident that the enforcement of the building code would help improve access to public places and enhance service delivery.
The Chief Director of the Local Government Service, Mr James Oppong-Mensah, who delivered a speech on behalf of the Head of the OLGS, Dr Nana Ato Arthur, said the collaboration with the GSA would ensure that building standards were adhered to by all stakeholders.
He called on the MMDAs in the Greater Accra Region where the enforcement was starting from to demonstrate their commitment to the code by linking it to their bye-laws.
“The building code is an efficient way of using scarce resources to deepen the decentralisation process,” he said.