KARACHI, Feb 17: The Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) has formally been renamed as the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and its jurisdiction extended to the entire province with immediate effect, it was learnt on Thursday.

The SBCA will have its headquarters in Karachi and regional offices in Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Larkana.

A notification (No SO (L&S)/STP/5-291 (2009) to this effect issued by provincial Local Government Secretary Khursheed Naeem Malik last Monday says: “In exercise of the powers conferred under Section 1 (2) of Sindh Building Control Authority-1979 and with the approval of competent authority i.e. chief minister, Sindh, the government of Sindh, after re-naming KBCA as Sindh Building Control Authority, is pleased to extend the area of KBCA to the whole of province of Sindh with its headquarter at Karachi with immediate effect. Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Larkana have been declared as regional offices of the SBCA.” When Mr Malik was contacted by Dawn to know whether the provincial assembly has approved renaming of the KBCA, he said that as a matter of fact there was no need to take the matter to the assembly as the provision to extend the jurisdiction of the KBCA already existed under the Sindh Building Control Ordinance and the chief minister had extended the authority’s jurisdiction to the whole of Sindh after renaming it under the relevant provisions of the SBCO.

Asked what would be the designations of the officials heading the SBCA headquarters and its regional offices, he replied that the post of KBCA chief controller of buildings would hold the title of SBCA director-general and the regional heads would be called regional directors.

Sources in the KBCA told Dawn that a large number of officials of the now defunct KBCA, having the strength of over 700 employees, might be posted at the four regional offices.

Other sources said that the renaming of the KBCA without making relevant amendments to the SBCO and Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulations (KB&TPR), contravened a provision of the city district government’s Karachi Strategic Development Plan-2020 that inter alia stated: “As with the planning controls set out under building control ordinance are not applicable to federal agencies and lands these laws should be amended so that they apply to all building in the city district and this should be put on the agenda of the Steering Committee and Planning and Development Control Committee since they bring together representatives of key stakeholders.”

Describing building control as “another tool for controlling land development”, the KSDP-2020 says that for the Karachi metropolitan area, the KB&TPR, under the SBCO, 1979, are the operative regulations.

Pointing out that the primary obstacle to their effective application and use was enforcement of rules and conditions for building permits, KSDP emphasises the need for undertaking a programme so as to ensure that the responsibilities of all officials involved in carrying out this system are strictly enforced and this requires further scrutiny of activities of all enforcement officials as well as the procedures for issuance of permits.

KSDP also proposes that the “KB&TPR of 2002 be revised to establish two-tier development control process. First, special development authorities with specific geographical jurisdictions will review and provide preliminary approval of proposed development projects. Then the application will be submitted to the CDGK for final approval. In this way, special authorities will participate in regulating development of their areas, while the CDGK will maintain its position as the final arbiter of development control decisions. Besides, changes to the development code will help to vest necessary development authority in the CDK and enable the types of mixed use, mid-rise and high-rise development foreseen in the strategic development plan.”