The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications in collaboration with eThekwini Municipality held its 12th Annual Building Control Officers Convention at the Durban ICC on Wednesday (15 November 2023).
Held under the theme ‘Building Resilience in Changing Times,’ the convention aims to address the current challenges within the built industry, from the effect of climate change on the environment to the new phenomenon such as construction mafias delaying construction projects in various parts of the country.
eThekwini Municipality Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda says the convention provides the ideal platform for various stakeholders within the construction industry to exchange knowledge that would assist municipalities in ensuring that proper procedures are observed in line with the National Building Regulation and Building Standards Act.
“The stakeholders must be able to provide inside support to municipalities, so that we can fulfil our mandate of ensuring that health and safety in construction is maintained by following the national building regulations and building standards act. These are essential to maintain sound governance in the building construction sector,” said Kaunda.
“We cannot runaway from the fact that failure to comply with the building regulations could spell disaster and result in the loss of life,” he added.
The mayor also indicated that the unprecedented weather conditions due to climate change are also being witnessed not only in Durban but also in various parts of the country are impacting the built industry negatively.
The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Nomalungelo Gina has made a plea to municipalities to ensure that they also do their part in building solid infrastructure that is able to withstand extreme weather conditions.
“The biggest challenges that we all face in the built environment are of climate change and the adaptation that the sector must have…what kind of buildings must we now build and looking at the natural disasters that are now becoming very familiar to us in the southern Africa and the continent, how are going to adapt? We hope to address these today.”
The Western Cape Property Development Forum has indicated that the growth in population is posing a challenge to the built industry as a balance in formal structures and informal structures is yet to be achieved.
While Senior Manager of the Climate Protection Branch in eThekwini Municipality, Sean O’Donoghe revealed that during the devastating April 2022 floods in Durban, only 10% of the damage can be attributed to climate change.
“One thing about those floods, most of the damage that we have seen, we have figured it out from the studies that we have done. We can only attribute climate change to about 10% of the damage that we have recorded. Climate change is probably between 8 and 11 percent was due to climate change, most of it was already existing problems within the catchment,” said O’Donoghe.
In conclusion, the common denominator cited by speakers is that the government or municipalities must go through proper channels in building reputable infrastructure which will benefit the economy and the environment.