The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has kick-started distribution of the first comprehensive Ghana Building Code to metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) across the country.
The exercise is to ensure the widespread adoption and use of the 38-chapter Code, which was launched by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in October, last year.
The Code is a set of rules that specify the standards for constructed objects such as buildings and non-building structures.
Metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), estate developers and individuals are expected to abide by the tenets of the Code.
It provides specific formats to be considered, especially by the MMDAs, in manufacturing of furniture and construction of buildings and roads, aimed at ensuring safety.
Professor Alex Dodoo, the Director-General of the GSA, presented the first copies of the document to all the municipal and district assemblies in the Upper East Region at a short ceremony at the Navrongo Campus of the University of Development Studies (UDS).
He said the Code would guide the building and construction industry in Ghana and encouraged the district assemblies to ensure that all building materials met international standards in order to ensure adequate protection, public health and safety.
Professor Dodoo said Ghana needed value for money in the construction industry to ensure quality and safety of the citizenry.
Each assembly is expected to receive three copies to serve as guide to all types of construction works, be it residential or public.
He said Ghana, since independence, had never had a building code and that the Code, distributed free of charge, would help reduce the impact of floods, which occasionally affected the northern sector.
It would also ensure standards in soil sample tests and quality materials for buildings, among other things, to prevent shoddy works and the resultant collapse of buildings.
Prof. Dodoo said the MMDCEs were critical in national development, hence the distribution of the Code to serve as a reference point to aid in their monitoring of the performance of contractors.
Professor Emmanuel Abole, the District Chief Executive of Bolgatanga East, who received the Code on behalf of the Upper East Regional Minister, expressed gratitude to the Government for the effort and said it could not have come at a better time.
He said the northern sector faced challenges with some buildings during heavy rains due to the use of inferior building materials, which exposed humans and property to danger.
He expressed the hope that the Code would serve as a better guide for to ensure improvement in the construction industry and value for money.
Comparing old buildings of colonial times to the present, he decried the type and nature of building materials used in modern times, and said the colonial buildings were stronger.
The document was modified from existing International Building Codes and laid down the essential requirements for building and structural conformity.
Ghana has been operating without a comprehensive building code since independence. Essentially, it has been a free for all in the building and construction industry with no clearly defined standards.
The Code was developed by the GSA on behalf of the Ministry of Works and Housing (MWH), with the support of the Swiss Government, through the Ghana Office of the International Finance Corporation/World Bank Group.
Professional associations such as the Building and Land Research Institute, Ghana Institution of Engineers and Ghana Institute of Architects contributed to the development of the Code.