Penang revamps Uniform Building By-Laws

OTHER STORIES : CM: Land for schools should be used just for that

GEORGE TOWN (June 15, 2008): After almost a quarter century, the country's Uniform Building By-Laws (UBBL) which regulates the development of buildings are to be revamped.

Sources told theSun the government has agreed to revise the by-laws following feedback from various professional quarters that many of its provisions are obsolete and outdated.

It is learnt that a committee, spearheaded by the Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Works Ministry, is being formed to look into areas that need to be updated.

It will also include representatives from various institutions in the development sector, including the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM), the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) and registered building draughstmen.

"Many of the important clauses in the UBBL have not been updated since it was gazetted in 1984," said the source, adding that "a revision is necessary to reflect the most current engineering technology and architectural capability".

One of the areas to be reviewed is the inclusion of new environmental regulations, including revised clauses for energy efficiency requirements such as ventilation, lighting and thermal elements in construction of buildings.

Also to be reviewed are clauses introduced in the early 80s, which are now deemed to be restrictive for present-day construction and planning in light of new technology and methods available in the industry.

Among such concerns is the fire safety requirement currently imposed in the construction of buildings under the UBBL, which is seen to be very restrictive for development and design.

"The fire safety requirements in construction as specified in the Malaysian UBBL is one of the most stringent in the world," said the source, adding that other countries have successfully used performance-based measures for fire safety.

It is understood that the revision would also address additional measures for disability access.

The current by-laws have been criticised as lacking as many constructions have failed to take into account provisions for disability access in the UBBL.

The UBBL, which covers commercial, residential and common buildings, was initially drawn up to provide a common legislation for construction and inspection of structures across the country, covering a wide range of techical requirements for fire prevention, structural integrity, proper electrical wiring, ventilation and sanitary facilities.