The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) has begun the process of reviewing Guyana’s current building codes, which had been implemented since 1999.
According to the Executive Director of GNBS, Candelle Walcott-Bostwick, there are a number of building codes in Guyana and all these versions are being reviewed by the GNBS.
Speaking at a GNBS’s press conference on Monday, the Director said that the existing specifications of those codes need to be reviewed, as they are outdated.
“We have a set of building codes and they are currently being reviewed, the one for septic tank is just a review of the existing specifications and that committee is currently working on it, so for example, they may be looking at certain areas like the size, the type of materials that are being used and so forth, so it’s just updating what currently exists.”
Further Walcott-Bostwick said that building codes in use in Guyana at this time were all implemented a long time ago, and as such would need to confirm to modern specifics.
“We have not designed as yet the enforcement of building codes and that is something that we have to communicate with the Business Minster because we would’ve had these codes in existence since 1999 and we have never had the enforcement aspect of it streamlined,” Bostwick said.
Some regulatory authorities are available that enforce aspects of the building codes – for example the Guyana Fire Service (GFS), which use the codes to enforce the parts which are applicable to them – when persons are constructing buildings, as well as the Government electrical department who implemented the electrical codes.
“At this moment, those regulators will carry out their enforcement, but the thing is, there is not an enforcement body to oversee all of the building codes,” the Director highlighted.
The codes have been up for review for the past two years, however, because of ongoing development, the requirements are ever changing.
“When you look at the codes now for example, persons are thinking of codes with requirements for energy efficiency, some of the type of materials that are available then, we have newer materials available now, newer technologies and so are available now so as it is, there is no formal enforcement arm as is required by the building code, as is specified in that standard.”
However, although there are currently no enforcement arms of these codes, there are penalties for those who refused to follow the codes that are currently available.
“Under these various regulatory bodies, that we would’ve mentioned, there are penalties because, of course, they have to approve these buildings so if you are not meeting those requirements, then it’s most likely that your plan will not be approved, so there would be penalties that would be applied if you don’t meet those requirements” the GNBS outlined.