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Councillors encouraged to acquaint themselves with Building Act

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, has called on colleagues in the municipality to acquaint themselves with the Building Act of 2017.
The law was passed in the House of Representatives last year with 24 amendments and in the Senate with 30 amendments.

“As councillors, I urge all of you to ensure that you know it. I will be convening a meeting to have presentations on the Act, which will give you the opportunity to ask various questions on clauses, so that you are comfortable with the law, because, as you all know, it comes under Local Government,” he told them.

The Mayor was addressing the monthly meeting of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation at its Church Street offices in downtown Kingston today.

Williams noted that the passage of the Act represents a significant moment in the history of the country and local government, “as it will make our infrastructure far more resilient than it is now, and will help to protect our environment from man-made and natural hazards”.

Some provisions of the Act include ensuring public safety and welfare, ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities regarding accessibility and safety, preventing squatter settlements, and promoting sustainable development.

The law also provides for the establishment of the National Building Code and identifies the Bureau of Standards Jamaica as the agency that will set the acceptable local and international standards for construction.

In addition, the legislation establishes that the municipal corporations are to be the local building authorities and will be responsible for inspecting, certifying and taking the actions necessary to approve new structures, change existing buildings or destroy dangerous structures.

It also streamlines the permit application system to eliminate unnecessary referrals and expedite responses, and facilitates the introduction of special express services.