There is a deep concern in South Africa that national building regulations developed by the South African government are not being implemented by builders, architects, and engineers. Many new buildings are not compliant with the National Building Regulations, which is a major health and safety issue for everyone.
Ignorance rather than willful abuse of the system is to blame for a lack of compliance in the SA construction industry. Many contractors and professionals don’t understand the extent of their involvement in a building project and are not aware of the extensive regulations that they need to abiding by. What are National Building Regulations?
Building regulations ensure that construction projects ranging from one-story homes to skyscrapers hundreds of floors high all meet the same exacting standards. Building regulations and codes
are used worldwide, but although health and safety is paramount within the construction industry, there are some variances according to local requirements.
The 2nd Annual Builder’s Workshop in Lephalale, which was organised to educate members of the building trade, addressed the issue of National Building Regulations and their role in the South African construction industry. Attendees to the workshop were addressed by representatives from various key bodies, including the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) and the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC). Energy efficiency and usage
Energy efficiency and usage were important topics of discussion at the workshop. Many professionals operating within the construction industry are ignorant of the laws governing energy efficiency and usage. The workshop discussed the legal and professional responsibilities for people working in the constructing of public and private works. The aim was to clear up any misconceptions about who is responsible for what before building applications are submitted to local authorities.
The National Building Regulations are complex and highly technical documents, so it is essential that building contractors, architects, and engineers fully understand the philosophy and intent behind each regulation. It’s not enough to read through the content of the documents; users must understand the how and why of each regulation and know how to implement them in practice. Once users understand the regulations, they can treat the documents as a checklist to be adhered to when a construction project gets underway. Integrity within the construction industry
Local building control officers rely on the integrity of professionals involved in the South African construction industry. Many construction projects are extremely large and complex. If the National Building Regulations are not followed from start to finish of a construction project, it puts people’s lives at risk.
Workshops like the one in Lephalale are very important, as they educate professionals at grassroots levels. Compliance is more of a problem with smaller construction companies, as they are less regulated than multi-national construction giants
carried out in 2015 found a high number of deaths and serious injuries were caused by collapsing and defective buildings. The paper’s authors looked at case studies of disasters in local homes, government buildings, commercial buildings, and abandoned structures. They concluded that there was a critical need for process review and greater awareness of the regulatory process, which is something the annual Lephalale workshop aims to address.