MININFRA is yet to establish a Rwanda Housing Board
The Minister of Infrastructure (MININFRA), Linda Bihire, has said that all buildingS in Rwanda will soon be assessed to determine their state of strength as a follow-up of the newly launched building regulations. She said that the assessment will see poor and weak buildings in the country demolished.
MININFRA on Monday launched the Rwanda building regulations manual which will act as a standard- reference for the building, design and construction in the country.
The Minister said the benefits to be reaped from applying this document include harmonization of professional practice in the construction industry, and curtailment of unofficial developments.
However she also added that, “Those (buildings) that are strong but below minimum standards will be upgraded to match the required level.”
The assessment and monitoring of both commercial and residential buildings will be carried out by the Rwanda Housing Board, yet to be established by the MININFRA basing on the new building control regulations.
The regulations, with six clusters such as building design and construction, are to curtail informal developments to ensure well-planned, well-maintained, safe, cost-effective and decent building developments throughout Rwanda.
“Its (Rwanda Housing Board) proposed structure is currently in parliament awaiting approval,” Bihire disclosed. She added that the first ever national housing board will be responsible for all housing issues and enforcing standards in the country.
“It will be an execution authority for the ministerial policies and regulations related to housing and construction standards, leaving the Ministry with duties related to policy drafting.”
MININFRA has been drafting and implementing policies concurrently.
The housing board will also advice the line Ministry on building standards for updating the building control regulations, aimed at public safety for socio-economic development.
MININFRA officials said that the building rules document was designed basing on British standards and specifications as laid out by the British Standards Institution of the United Kingdom and that it would be interpreted in conjunction with standard building specifications in use in the country.
“We chose to use the British standards because they are more developed around the world as they have been around for a hundred years. But since Britain is flat, we had to interpret them in accordance with our country’s topography,” she explained.
Updating of the new regulations will be done with the dynamic technological development of the industry and the East Africa Community (EAC) standards.
The construction industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the country’s economy and major contributor of tax revenue. Its growth rate is estimated at 16 percent as of last year.
The development comes at a time when government is luring investors into the construction industry for economic development.
There are currently about 9.7 hectares of land in Nyarugenge district of Kigali City up for sale, as part of the development plan of the newly created Central Business District (CBD) under the City Master Plan.