At a red-carpet event held at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala, stake holders in the built environment were treated to a night of excellence as individuals and organizations were awarded for their efforts towards ensuring fire safety and accessibility at the inaugural National Building Control Awards 2023 under the theme “Accessibility and Fire Safety”.
The winners of the Awards organized by the National Building Review Board (NBRB) in partnership with the Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD) were determined after an online voting exercise. In this exercise the public nominated buildings, building committees, and building control officers basing on their user experience.
Nominations from Nebbi, Busia, Masaka, Kabarole and Sheema districts, Kira and Nansana Municipalities and Kampala, Masaka, Soroti, Lira, Mbale, Arua, Gulu and Jinja cities were received. A shortlist of 42 buildings, 6 Building committees and 5 Building Control Officers was drawn from these nominations by a Technical Committee.
In order to ensure impartiality in the selection of award winners, a 27-member Technical Panel of experts (judges) nominated by various professional bodies and organizations that included National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), Internal Auditors Association of Uganda, Uganda Police Force Directorate of Fire Protection and Rescue Services, Uganda Society of Architects, Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers, Institution of Surveyors of Uganda, and the Academia (Makerere University) was constituted the verification and selection committee.
After the verification exercise, 11 user-friendly public and private buildings and institutions were awarded at a colorful event.
These included, Machine Workshop building of Uganda Technical Institute Kichwamba in the Education Institutions Buildings, Kawempe National Referral Hospital under the Health Institutions, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jinja for Faith-Based Institutions Buildings, Soroti Main Market scooped the Commercial/Mercantile building category while URA towers won in the Civic /Office buildings category.
Other winners included Speke Apartments for Residential/ Condominium buildings, Four Points by Sheraton Kololo Hotel for Hotels/ reactional buildings in Kampala while Mbale Resort won for same category for upcountry buildings. Nebbi District walked away with the best Building Committee in the districts and town council category, Soroti building committee in the cities and municipalities category while Soroti City won the best Building Control Officer Award.
While presiding over the awards, the State Minister for Disability in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hellen Asamo who represented Vice President Jessica Alupo acknowledged NBRB’s efforts in ensuring an accessible built environment through enforcement of the Building Control Act 2013 and Regulations thereunder, conducting research in building methods, monitoring and supervision among others.
“Our built environment is yet to achieve the necessary accessibility and fire safety standards despite the government efforts through legislation and enforcement. I am hopeful that these awards will be a game changer, through motivating the sector players to prioritize accessibility and fire safety aspects, especially through the design and implementation stages of the buildings”. Asamo noted.
In her keynote address, Eng. Flavia Bwire, the Executive Secretary of NBRB painted a scary picture of the built environment in terms of accessibility and fire safety that led the Board to organize the awards as one of the ways of raising stakeholder and public awareness about reality on the ground.
Bwire revealed that the Board audited 2,306 occupied buildings in the 11 cities and found OUT that the level of compliance with PWDs requirements (Ramp, Lift, Parking, and sanitation) was a dismal 11.8%. The Board also monitored 3,336 active construction sites and found that only 18.3% provided for ramp access, 8.1% provided for lift access, 11% had provision for PWD parking and only 8.4% had provision for sanitary facilities for PWDs.
In terms of fire safety, the Annual Crime reports from the Uganda Police Force, revealed that a total of 1,099 fire emergencies were recorded in 2017, 1,018 reported in 2018, 999 reported in 2019, 1,015 reported in 2020, and 1,258 reported in 2021. On average 3 fire incidents each day.
The Compliance audits by the NBRB of 2,306 occupied buildings in the 11 cities found that the level of compliance to fire safety was only 20% and out of 3,336 active construction sites monitored, only 7.8% had provision for firefighting equipment. Previous investigations on fire incidents in schools revealed that limited damage and fatalities could have been realized if the buildings had proper access, critical fire detection, firefighting, and fire management infrastructure in place.
“As we celebrate our heroes, we remember that fire safety demands our perpetual vigilance, urging us to stay abreast of technological advancements, embrace best practices, and continuously refine our approaches to ensure that every building stands as a fortress against fire”. Bwire advised.
- Educational Institutions Buildings
Machine Workshop, Uganda Technical College Kichwamba
- Health Institutions Buildings
Kawempe National Referral Hospital
- Faith-Based Institutions Buildings.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jinja
- Mercantile (Commercial) Buildings
Soroti Main Market
- Recreational (Hotels- KMP) Buildings
Four Points by Sheraton, Kololo
- Recreational (Hotels-Upcountry) Buildings
Mbale Resort Hotel
- Civic (Office)Buildings
- Residential (Condominium) Buildings
- Building Committee- Districts and Town Councils