More than 100 local government practitioners inclusive of directors of planning and building officers from across the island were exposed to rudiments of new Building Act in an effort to enhance work performance in the execution of their duties.
Honourable Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, along with a team from the Ministry hosted the officers at a recently-held sensitization workshop in Kingston
“The new Building Act provides for modern standards for the built environment, as well as modern methods of protecting and enforcing those standards, which include the National Building Code,” Minister McKenzie stressed.
“The municipal corporations are to be the local building authorities and will be responsible for inspecting, certifying and taking the actions necessary to approve new structures, change existing buildings or destroy dangerous structures.”
The Building Bill 2017, approved by the Senate with 30 amendments in January, institutes a modern legislative framework that will serve to reduce the vulnerability of Jamaica’s built environment and ensure public safety.
The legislation also seeks to streamline the permit application system to eliminate unnecessary referrals and expedite responses; enable the introduction of special express as well as safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities in terms of accessibility, safety and user-friendliness.
Minister McKenzie also underscored the importance of the Act during his address at the February 8, 2018 Jamaica Fire Brigade graduation exercise for106 recruits, whom he said are integral to the continued development of Jamaica.
“The Local Authorities across the island are primarily responsible for implementing this Act. However, the Jamaica Fire Brigade will have a critical role to play, as one of the Agencies that is involved in development approvals before construction happens, and building inspections during and after the construction process” he explained.
“Therefore, you are not only critical to ensuring that we protect our national assets from fire, but also to creating the new architecture that we all will benefit from: the new houses, hotels, schools, hospitals, churches…all the structures that are critical to the expansion and development of a modern society.”