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Building code to shore up rickety construction sector

Construction projects in Burma will soon be regulated under a national building code. The Myanmar [Burma] National Building Code, designed to ensure procedural safety and combat embezzlement, is currently being drafted, according to Than Myint, chairman of the Committee for Quality Control of High-rise Building Projects (CQHP).

Than Myint, speaking at the Myanmar Construction Seminar in Rangoon on Tuesday, said planners are looking to building codes in other countries because there is no precedent in Burma, adding that drafting of the code has been in progress since 2012.

“Despite continuing construction,” he said, “we have yet to enforce any regulation.”

A lack of procedures or regulations for construction operation has exacerbated embezzlement in the industry — builders cut corners on safety in order to pocket extra profit — often resulting in poor quality, hazardous structures.

Than Myint said that a building code must be coupled with the establishment of disciplinary boards. He believes penalising those who fail to uphold the code is necessary to ensure better building quality as well as safety standards in construction.

“There may also be some buildings constructed in the past that need reviewing. It is important to set a schedule for check-up systems on these buildings – say once every three months, six months, or one year,” said Than Myint.

The increased focus on building regulation comes as the Myanmar Construction Seminar continues for a second day. Over 400 political officials and private sector leaders have attended the seminar, which introduced foreign and domestic builders to the bourgeoning construction industry in Rangoon.

Construction Minister Kyaw Lwin told the seminar that 22 major development projects are soon to be revealed, adding that 60 percent of construction work would be implemented under private contract.



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