Upcoming law on construction must respond to industry needs

A draft law that seeks to streamline the construction sector is hugely awaited by industry players who seem to unanimously agree that the legislation will reshape the landscape for the better.

A draft law that seeks to streamline the construction sector is hugely awaited by industry players who seem to unanimously agree that the legislation will reshape the landscape for the better.

While the law will not be an end in itself, it will certainly help change the dynamics on the ground mainly by empowering relevant statutory and professional bodies to boldly take on the challenges that have afflicted this critical industry for far too long.

Construction is one of the country’s fastest growing sectors and therefore no effort must be spared in ensuring that it realises its full potential.

With almost all the cities and districts now with their own master plans, it’s imperative that the construction sector is protected from any malpractices that might compromise the set standards, thus putting lives in danger.

Over the years we have had tragic incidents resulting from shoddy construction works and sheer disregard of basic standards, with many people losing their lives in the process.

While buildings can collapse due to non-human factors, our experience has proven that we are to blame for most of these tragedies. Most of these incidents could have been avoided had we observed basic construction rules.

But there was a legal vacuum and we paid dearly.

The legislation should help tackle the loopholes we have witnessed over the years such as cases where someone puts up a structure without obtaining requisite authorisation only for it to be razed down upon completion which causes unnecessary losses.

The legal framework should also protect clients from unscrupulous practitioners, which will, in effect, reduce the number of related disputes that end up in courts of law.

These are some of the issues that the forthcoming law should and must address.

By and large, the law must help the country and our cities, in particular, achieve their redevelopment and human settlement targets.

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