The Minister of Works and Transport Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala has launched the National Building Control Awards (NBCA) aimed at celebrating excellence, innovation and dedication of individuals and organisations within the industry, for their efforts in ensuring building accessibility and fire safety.
Under the theme “Celebrating Building Accessibility and Fire Safety”, the awards are based on a people-centred approach where the building users have an opportunity to nominate buildings that meet accessibility and fire safety standards based on their user experience.
The awards are based on 3 categories that is;
- Public Buildings Award
- Education institution buildings (all types)
- Health institution buildings
- Religious institution (faith based) buildings
- Mercantile (Commercial) buildings (arcades, malls, shopping centres, etc.)
- Residential (condominium)
- Recreational buildings (Hotels)
- Civic (Office) buildings
- Building Committee Award
This will be bestowed upon the best performing building committee in the country. According section 28 of the Building Control Act, for each district and for each urban authority there must be a building committee responsibility for scrutinizing and approving building plans and issue building and occupation permits. As beneficiaries of the services of these building committees, this award provides the public an opportunity, to critically assess their performances. Likewise, this award also provides the building committees with genuine feedback from the public on areas of improvement.
- Building Control Officer Award.
This will be given to the best performing Building Control Officer in the country, whose responsibilities according to the Act are to make recommendations to the building committees in relations to building plans, specifications of building materials and workmanship and inspect erection and demolition of buildings among other responsibilities.
How to vote.
Voting is open to all members of the public through a link https://awards.nbrb.go.ug which can be accessed through the NBRB website www.nbrb.go.ug and other social media platforms. Voting starts today till 31st October. After public participation, a multi-disciplinary team will analyze the data and select the best from each category to be awarded. The award ceremony will then be held on 8th December 2023.
While launching the Awards, the Minister rallied members of the general public to take part in assessing the performance of the sector in terms of fire safety and accessibility.
“Your voices will be heard with your vote, using the link which is shared with the public through NBRB’s social media platforms. From the developers, manufacturers, fundis, suppliers of buildings to the ordinary Ugandans, in the entire country, we all have an equal opportunity to participate in this exercise. Make your vote count”. Katumba urged.
According to the Building Control Act, 2023, the National Building Review Board is among others mandated to ensure that the design and construction of buildings and utilities to which the public is to have access caters for Persons with Disabilities (PWDS).
Equally section 10 of the Persons with Disability Act, 2019, directs an owner or a person in charge of a building to which the public is allowed to access, put in place accessible and easy to find entrances which are connected to accessible pathways and parking areas, provide safe and accessible toilets, urinals and bathrooms, provide safe and well dimensioned staircases with appropriate railing, accessible elevators and where necessary provide ramps.
Despite the existence of this legal framework, many building developers are yet adhered to the set building standards to cater for PWDs. The situation has been worsened by the recent spate of fires especially in education institutions.
A report of NBRB’s Investigations Department on Building Accidents from January 2020- December 2022, recorded and investigated 41 fires or explosions and 25 building collapses. For fire incidents, 16 were recorded in schools, 4 in residential and 21 in commercial buildings. The investigations further revealed that 65.6% of these fires were caused by human factors (negligence and arson). In all these cases 31 lives were lost and 16 others injured.
This state of affairs is what informed NBRB in partnership with Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD) to organise the Award as a platform to further sensitise the public about building fire safety and accessibility and also motivate those that are working hard to ensure compliance.