General News of Thursday, 8 November 2012

Source: Joy Online

Melcom building lacking permit indicates failure - Expert

Former President of the Ghana Institution of Architects, O.K. Agyeman has said that the construction industry and its regulators are too irresponsible and undisciplined.

More problematically, he added, development has outstripped regulators’ abilities and capacity to regulate it.

Speaking Thursday on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show in response to yesterday’s Melcom tragedy, Mr. Agyemang called the collapse of the building, which was constructed without a permit, emblematic of government’s inability to enforce building codes nationwide.

He suggested that the public would benefit more if the response to this tragedy included a candid examination of leadership at many levels.

Typically, he explained, such incidents provoke a big fuss about building standards that ultimately yields no systematic reform.

He especially faulted the municipal assemblies, whom he said are generally overwhelmed by their workloads and who exhibited negligence in this case.

Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Vanderpuye defended the AMA, insisting that the assembly regularly prosecutes building code violators and denied that his outfit delays in processing building permits.

He pledged to find out how collapsed Melcom building could have gone up without a permit and to locate the building’s owner, who ignored an AMA request for a meeting.

Urban Planner Frank Tackie suggested that because assemblies are unable to fulfill their building inspection duties, they should outsource these responsibilities to specialized contractors.

The inspection costs as well as the liabilities, he said, should be borne by the property owner.