29-Year-Old Building Code to be Revised
The Asian Development Bank, through the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility, is funding a study in 13 Pacific Island Countries including Fiji, to identify barriers in carrying out their building codes and to provide guidance in future assistance initiatives.
In its efforts to improve Fiji’s infrastructure development, members of the Construction Industry Council and its stakeholders unraveled small and big issues that has been holding the industry back.
Barriers that Fiji’s billion dollar construction industry had been facing, will soon be removed after the review of the 29 year old National Building Code.
The Code is the premium document for all licensed builders, engineers, architects and surveyors, which defines the minimum standards for buildings and the materials that are used in the industry.
The last review of this document was 15 years ago, which many of the industry’s players say, is unhelpful now, especially for a rapidly evolving industry.
Many had echoed the fact that the 29 year old Code is outdated and is not user friendly, as the Code is written in a way where only experts in the industry can understand.
New Zealand Architect Rhys Gwilliam said graduates from local universities have no or little knowledge on the document because it is not part of the curriculum.
Concerns were also raised about the lack of ethics in the industry.
Many of the industry’s members commented on how unscrupulous and dishonest builders are ruining the industry’s reputation.
Members have suggested that a Building Board should be formed and that the National Building Code should not fall within the ambit of the Ministry of Health, but within the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism or Local Government.
Complaints were also made about the lack of management skills that has forced companies to hire experts from overseas, to supervise the work of managers or even supervisors.
The one day workshop was facilitated by New Zealand architect Rhys Gwilliam who brings 30 years of experience in managing projects throughout the South Pacific including Fiji, with his most recent work being a member of the World Bank team that prepared the Post Disaster Needs Assessment for Tropical Cyclone Winston.
Mr Gwilliam will be in Fiji until January 27th.
He has been engaged by the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility through ADB to undertake a diagnostic study on the capacity of Pacific Island Countries to apply their building codes and provide guidance on future assistance initiatives related to building codes updates. The Fiji Building Code is the first Pacific Island Code to be reviewed by the Study team.