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Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Building Act will take effect on January 19, 2019.

He was speaking at the World Town Planning Day 2018 Conference, which was held at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort and Spa in St. James on Thursday (November 8).

“The Local Authorities are keepers of the built environment in the areas under their control as is stipulated in the Building Act of 2018, which will come into effect on January 19, 2019,” Mr. McKenzie informed.

“We are cognisant of concerns raised by members of the building sector. As such, when the Building Bill was being contemplated, there were many years of consultations and meetings in order to reach an agreement regarding the terms of this critical piece of legislation. Stakeholders of the building sector were invited to look at aspects of the Bill, and concessions were made to facilitate some of the concerns raised prior to it being passed,” he added.

The Minister urged developers to work closely with the local planning authorities to ensure that the design and location of any new infrastructure will facilitate water conservation, mechanisms to maintain sustainable drainage systems and appropriate ventilation.

Provisions in the Building Act include ensuring public safety and welfare, ensuring the accessibility and safety for individuals with disabilities, promoting sustainable development and preventing squatter settlements.

The Act also establishes that the Municipalities will be the local building authorities responsible for certifying, inspecting and taking the necessary actions to change existing structures, approve new buildings or destroy dangerous structures.