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The Ethiopian Herald (Addis Ababa) » 3 MAY 2016

Ethiopia: Construction, Codes and Standards


By Yared Gebremeden

Virtually all residential construction must adhere to comprehensive building codes and standards governed by local and state laws.
Because of the cost and complexity of developing and maintaining such codes, state and local governments typically adopt nationally
recognized model codes, often amending them to reflect local construction practices, climate and geography.
Most countries and communities adopt internationally recognized Codes for this purpose. The Codes address all aspects of single- and
two-family as well as multifamily construction, including structural elements and the electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air
conditioning systems, and energy conservation requirements as well as the over all construction elements of the sector.
The requirements established by national code bodies, the modifications made by state and local governments, and the standards set by
national organizations that are used in developing the model codes can significantly affect the construction, configuration and cost of
new residential buildings as well as remodeling or additions to existing ones.
The original purpose of codes was to protect public health and safety, but government agencies have increasingly turned to codes to
implement other policies, such as energy efficiency, resilience, sustainability, and property protection.
Codes are typically updated in every three years time in many places. When model code changes are proposed, the responsible bodies
start analyzing the impact of every proposal on new home construction and existing residential buildings. It also works to ensure that all
proposals are evaluated objectively so that any changes or additional code requirements may need to be adopted if it is necessary and
cost-effective.
Policies and codes of conduct that are critically designed and taken from the practice of different countries are used to address a number
of specific code-related concerns including cost effectiveness, affordability, safety, fire sprinklers, resiliency, hazard mitigation,
performance-based design, voluntary energy and green programs, accessibility, stair geometry and other important factors.
Such a trend is essential and an important matter especially in buildings in that the codes can have a profound impact on the comfort
and safety of residents as well as the cost of construction and the cost of operating the home.
A building code, building control or building regulations, are sets of rules that specify the minimum standards for constructed objects
such as buildings and non-building structures.
The main purpose of building codes are to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and
occupancy of buildings and structures. The building code becomes the law of a particular jurisdiction when formally enacted by the
appropriate governmental or private authority.
Building codes are generally intended to be applied by architects, engineers, constructors and regulators but are also used for various
purposes by safety inspectors, environmental scientists, real estate developers, subcontractors, manufacturers of building products and
materials, insurance companies, facility managers, tenants, and others.
Codes regulating the design and construction of structures where adopted into law. Codes in developed western nations can be quite
complex and exhaustive. They began in ancient times and have been developing ever since. In the USA for example the main codes are
the international commercial or residential code [ICC/IRC], electrical codes and plumbing, mechanical codes.
Other codes may include fire, health, transportation, manufacturing, and other regulations/regulators/testers. In essence they are
minimum standards of design and implementation. Designers use building code standards out of substantial reference books during
design.
Building departments review plans submitted to them before construction, issue permits [or not] and inspectors verify compliance to
these standards at the site during construction.
There are often additional codes or sections of the same building code that have more specific requirements that apply to dwellings or
places of business and special construction objects such as canopies, signs, pedestrian walkways, parking lots, and the like.
Construction codes and standards are very important elements of the development of the construction industry. And it is with this and
other unmentioned facts that the ministry of construction has organized a day long discussion over the last weekended here at Addis
ababa.
Ministry has organized a workshop that focused on benefiting construction codes and standards and related issues with Fana
Broadcasting Corporate last weekend at the corporate's head office.
According to the information from the ministry, the implementation of construction codes and standards, high technology assisted and
corruption free construction sector are essential to shoulder the overall economy of the country.
Opening the workshop, Minister to the Ministry of Construction Dr. Ambachew Mekonnen said that the construction sector demands
critically preparing legal frameworks, change planning, leadership and attitudinal change as the sector is complicated by its nature. Much
focus should be given to the sector as it is the back boning sector to the ongoing development and Ethiopia's economy"
The sector should be geared towards achieving the standards that will satisfy the needs and quests of citizens giving a due
consideration to safety. " stakeholders engaging on the sector needs to learn from their practical experiences , and an experience from
the other countries international best practices to lead the sector.", Dr. Ambachew.
Deputy CEO of Fana Broadcasting Corporate, Biruk Kebede said during the occasion that the construction sector is one among the
leading sectors of the nation to having a huge capital and man power investment and demands committed and strong partnership for its
effective realization.
Biruk added the sector has also numerous challenges and problems regardless of its huge consideration and the investment needs
sacrifice and revolutionary thinking to secure better performance on the coming GTPs.

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1/15/2018 Ethiopia: Construction, Codes and Standards - allAfrica.com
Papers on the second Growth and Transformation Plan as well as the 9 months performance report of the ministry has been presented
during the workshop by Experts and stakeholders of the sector. And participants have intensively conducted constructive discussions
that will strengthen the sector in the future.
During the presentation it was underlined that the construction sector has created jobs for 1.2 million citizens so far with its limited
technology, problems related to designing, organizational problems, lack of sufficient researches and manpower, job insecurity and
safety related issues, information and documentation problems as well as rent seeking which is among the most hampering threat to the
sector as the major challenges to the sector.
All the problems of the sector will be solved through implementing the code of practice (Cods) and standards effectively, the presenters
and participants have underlined.
Ethiopia has formally implemented construction codes having 11 summarized codes in 1995 and now three summarized codes have
been reestablished to boost the sector to offer a better standard.
Ministers, stakeholders, contractors, universities and regional representatives as well as partners have raise issued that needs to be
considered in the future endeavors of the sector. Some of the major issues raised in the discussion include among others collaboration,
need to creating common understanding on the codes and standards, construction quality, safety issues, code revision, ways to tackling
rent-seeking, specialization and other issues are bottlenecks to the sector. The have also raised issues regarding the urgency for
establishing the national construction council for the sector.
According to the information from the ministry, the ministry will work with all stakeholders as they are the most significant bodies in the
sector and will consider the issues raised during the workshop as an input to be included in the codes and standards as well as future
directions of the organization.
And issues regarding rent-seeking and corruption will have no place in the construction sector soon. The minister capitalized such a fact
by saying " No more corruption in the Ethiopian Construction" at the end of the discussion.

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