Buildings department policy in the pipeline

Post was last updated: December 30, 2019

The Department of Buildings in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works has been operating without a policy since its establishment.

However, the department has made strides in formulating a draft policy, according to the Department’s Director, Terrence Namaona.

“Most buildings in Malawi are generally substandard. This is compounded by the inadequate regulatory framework to facilitate enforcement of regulations and standards in the country. Furthermore, there are capacity constraints in all key institutions including ministries, departments and agencies, private sector, academia, contractors and consultants,” Namaona said.

This has resulted into the vulnerability of buildings to disasters and chronic risks, among other things.

The draft policy reads in part; “It is the intention of the Malawi Government to have buildings that safeguard the life, health, property and welfare of the population for the desired socioeconomic development of the country.”

This policy will guide orderly development of building structures that provide the expected comfort and resilience.

Building Works is a sub sector of Public Works whose role is to provide quality, timely, cost–effective and sustainable built environment to meet the economical, technical and social needs of the nation.

It is a considered view that the government needs to maintain high standards in both construction of new buildings and maintenance of existing structures. Hence, there is need for the sector’s regulatory framework such as Building Control and Development Act, Building regulations, standards and proper institutional setups.

Malawi remains one of the least urbanised countries in Africa.

Approximately 16.7 percent of Malawi’s population lives in urban areas. All the same, the country is urbanising at a moderate rate of approximately 3.7 to 3.9 percent per year.

If growth continues at this rate, by 2030, approximately 20 percent of the population will be city dwellers, reaching 30 percent by 2050.

This urban growth has the potential of improving economic opportunities and living conditions across Malawi.

This is particularly significant given that approximately 69 percent of the population is living under the international poverty line of $1.9 per day in PPP terms.

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