T&T should have a national building code by early 2015, chairman of the National Building Code Committee Shyankaran Lalla told the T&T Guardian. He said the committee has received $12 million in funding to begin formulating a code aimed at setting proper guidelines for local construction to ensure public safety. Funding for the project was approved late last year, some 18 months after the committee was appointed in April 2012. The committee is under the purview of Minister of Housing and Urban Development Dr Roodal Moonilal.
Lalla said the national building code was one of recommendations of the Uff Commission of Inquiry. “The Committee has since indicated its intention to adopt international building codes (IBC) which prescribe minimum requirements to safeguard public health.
“The IRC provides minimum requirements to safeguard public health, safety and general welfare for residential construction limited to one and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (town houses) not more than three storeys above grade,” he explained.
Lalla, a quality control consultant with more than 25 years experience, said adoption of codes such as the Building Construction and Safety Code (NFPA 5000), “will certainly signal to the construction industry that safety and quality are and will always be of paramount importance.” He said the committee also has the mandate to look into enforcement of building codes and a Building Code Act is expected to be drafted for enforcement.
“This would ensure that better quality structures will be built in the future, thereby reducing the risk of damage from earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. “When buildings are built to code it reduces the risks associated with disasters and reduces the burden on the state in the event of a disaster,” he said.
The 19-member committee includes Mark François, a registered civil/structural engineer; Dr Myron Chin, former head of UWI’s Civil Engineering Department and a registered civil/structural engineer, as well as representatives of the T&T Board of Engineering and the Association of Professional Engineers.
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