The much awaited revised Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) with suggestion of forming an independent regulatory authority to monitor building quality standard as well as guideline for making earthquake resilience building according to the latest 2014 ACI code is on the cards.
“We have finalized it six months before, and now it is at the Housing and Public Works Ministry waiting to publish in gazette,” Director of Building and Housing Research Institute Mohammad Abu Sadeque said on Wednesday.
He said the revised BNBC has already vetted by the Law Ministry and Housing and Public Works Ministry is going to publish it in a gazette form soon.
Sadeque said a new BNBC was a must needed document for the engineers right now as the existing BNBC was made long back in 1993 following the 89 ACI (American Concrete Institute) code.
He said the most significant component of the revised BNBC is giving the suggestion of forming an independent apex regulatory body comprising with five dignitaries having related work experience of at least 30 years.
The objective of the regulatory body will be to monitor whether the new building are being constructed following the revised BNBC, he added.
He said: “Presently, the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) plays the both role as a permission giving authority and also as a monitoring authority of building construction and maintenance.
“A same body cannot hold the both authority – approving and monitoring,” he said, adding that without forming an independent regulatory body, the BNBC monitoring can’t be ensured properly.
Sadeque said presently 5,000 building are being constructed within the Rajuk area and of them 4,000 are not built following the even existing building code and it poses Dhaka into a great threat of urban disaster.
The revised BNBC includes the retrofitting code for the first time to strengthen the existing vulnerable buildings.
“Retrofitting is such a technique you can make the vulnerable building earthquake resistant with cost of around 30-40% of the total cost,” he said.
“We also include the green building concept as well as rain water harvesting provision in the revised BNBC. It also gives guideline for making provision of universal accessible to the disable people,” he added.
The new BNBC also recommended for making a new earthquake zoning map for Bangladesh updating the existing one analyzing the new geological data.
He said the revised BNBC also includes definition of engineers for the first time to determine who can design and construct an establishment.
Sadeque also suggested revising the existing curriculum of Architecture and structural engineering courses as Bangladesh’s universities are teaching those courses with 40 years back concepts.
In a seminar in the capital recently, Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain said the government is committed to convert the revised BNBC into a law for ensuring public safety.
“The government will not allow construction of any building without following the National Building Code from now on to avoid accidents including collapse by natural and man-made disasters,” he said.
Considering the threat of an earthquake event, Bangladesh is taking measures to increase earthquake preparedness and promote risk reduction activities including revising building code, said the minister.
It is estimated that 50 million people are at risk of encountering Himalayan quakes in this area, many of them residing in the densely populated cities of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
In Bangladesh, national building code was first published in 1993 and got a legal coverage in 2006 through publication as a gadget.