A Bill to establish the Building Act to facilitate the adoption and efficient application of the National Building Code will be brought to both Houses of Parliament in the near future.
This was disclosed by Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, during a sitting of the Senate on Friday, February 8.
The Minister was contributing to the debate on a Motion brought by Senator Wensworth Skeffery, urging the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development to fast track the implementation of local government reform.
Senator Golding explained that the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has been pushing very hard to “bring forth the legislation which has been a long time coming”.
“The building legislation, with some additional drafting instructions, was produced in September of 2012 and this required some additional drafting work to be done. The revised Bill has been sent back to the Ministry with the required adjustments made to it,” Senator Golding said.
He added that the Local Government Ministry is also being encouraged to focus on the development of the regulations that are to accompany the legislation.
The Minister explained that this will allow the Bill to become operationalised after the passage of the legislation.
“So, I am anticipating that the Bill will be ready to be brought to Parliament in the near future,” Senator Golding said.
The Building Act will, among other things, 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.
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 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.