ISLAMABAD: Ten years after the devastating 2005 earthquake, it appears government authorities still do not have any building laws and regulations that could be enforced.

This was revealed on Thursday, when representatives from government departments said before the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights that the building codes developed by the Ministry of Housing and Works and adopted by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) have no statutory recognition.

“The Building Code of Pakistan, 2007, is no more than a beautiful book,” said Senator Farooq Hamid Naek.

Calling this “unfortunate”, the senator suggested that CDA, the housing ministry, the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) and the Pakistan Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) devise a codified law for future residential and commercial buildings.

In light of his suggestion, committee chairperson Senator Mohammad Javed Abbasi gave the heads of the departments concerned five weeks to create proposed legislation on building codes.

“The proposed legislation will be made into a law that will hold government authorities, as well as private builders, accountable for violations of regulations,” Senator Abbasi said. He added that provinces would also be asked to adopt these laws in order to build safer structures.

The committee was also informed that the federal capital does not have building codes that are enforceable.

In addition, CDA does not possess a mechanism through which it can check structural designs of residential and multi-storeyed commercial buildings.

According to the CDA Planning and Development Member Waseem Ahmed Khan, the authority instead depends on reports prepared by consultants to approve the construction of said structures.

The committee had also invited private builders for their input in drafting a law, who suggested that Islamabad should be developed in line with the master plan for the city.

The meeting was informed that Islamabad was placed in Zone 2, after the 2005 earthquake, and according to a CDA official, sits on a fault lines.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2015