A Bill to establish the Building Act, 2011, to facilitate the adoption and efficient application of the National Building Code, was tabled in the House of Representatives on September 27.
Tabled by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, the Bill will seek to repeal the Kingston and St. Andrew Building Act of 1883 and the Parish Councils Building Act of 1908, and make new provisions for the regulation of the building industry.
“The building code will significantly reduce or eliminate the practice of granting exemptions, which currently exist, and it will also bind the Government of Jamaica,” the Bill states.
The proposed legislation will also give recognition to the relevant provisions of the National Heritage Trust Act, which require that the Trust be consulted before structures of historical value are demolished, and that any such demolition be undertaken by qualified personnel and be done to specific standards.
Provisions are also provided within the Bill to ensure the rights of disabled persons regarding accessibility, suitability, safety and user friendliness of all buildings to which these persons may be invited or have a right of access.
In addition, the Bill will confirm the Bureau of Standards Jamaica as the standards authority with power to specify the version of the international codes that are to be used as the national code and to promulgate application documents in respect of those codes.
As the standards authority, the Bureau will also be empowered to recognise building standards and approve, list or certify building products, construction methods, building components and systems.