Friday, March 4, 2011

An overview of the Uniform Building By-Laws, 1984 & the Amendments 2007 [Part 5/5]


4.0       THE APPLICATIONS OF THE UBBL & RELATED ACTS

4.1       DESIGN STAGE

As mentioned in the earlier sections of this paper, all the construction professionals [e.g. Land Surveyors, Architects, C&S Engineers and M&E Engineers] will need to refer to a number of Acts and regulations in order to prepare their designs.   The Uniform Building By-Laws, 1984 [UBBL] is the main reference used by all the Local Authorities [Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan / PBT] and Technical Departments.   As such, a quick reference into the UBBL and other Acts mentioned earlier is the least any professionals should do.   Whenever practical it is best that a standard checklist is to be drawn up with reference to the UBBL and the relevant Acts.  

The Technical Departments which are of interest to C&S engineers are the Engineering Department of the PBT [Earthwork & Sub-Structures, Roads & Drains], JKR [Public Works Department], JPS [Department of Irrigation & Drainage], Jabatan Perkhidmatan Pembentungan [Sewerage Services Department], Local Water Supply Company and, JAS [Department of Environment].

4.2       SUBMISSION STAGE

Since the implementation of the CCC, all Local Authorities have implemented One Stop Centres [OSCs] to process building plans applications.   It is now compulsory to submit all architectural, civil & structural and mechanical & electrical plans and documentation simultaneously to the OSCs at the Local Authorities in order to have their applications processed.   Under OSC, Professionals no longer submit direct to the relevant Technical Departments but instead compile all applications in a combined submission to the Local Authorities.

As such, all design drawings and documentations by all the construction professionals must be compiled and submitted to the OSCs for review by a team from the PBT and all the relevant Technical Departments.   The OSC team will issue written comments upon review and the professionals are expected to comply with all their comments before submitting to the OSC for application for approval.   The OSC personnel will then distribute the “pre-reviewed” submissions to the relevant departments.   The onus is on OSC to follow up with the status of the application at the technical departments.

At the same time, all professionals are expected to follow up with the relevant technical departments if they wish for a speedy approval.

It should be highlighted that architects and engineers would have sworn vide a statement on their drawings and documentation that their designs comply with the UBBL and they would be accountable and responsible for the designs submitted to the Local Authorities.

4.3       DOCUMENTATION STAGE

Parallel with the submission is normally the contract documentation exercise.   Since this is the normal practice in the industry, all professionals are required to ensure that their design drawings and documentation comply with all the requirements in the UBBL and the other Technical Departments.   The danger with non-compliance is that an incomplete documentation may result in a redesigning of the work to suit the Technical Departments’ requirements at a later stage.  

The objective of this stage is to ensure that the documentation is complete and consistent for tendering purposes.   Any inaccuracy, error or omission may affect the project timing, extra cost and abortive work especially if the development has commenced.   The construction professionals have a duty of care to ensure that their documentations have incorporated all the requirements, including statutory conditions.

4.4       CONSTRUCTION STAGE

The construction stage is where the UBBL will come in full force.   At the early stages of the work mentioned above, the construction professionals would have already incorporated the requirements of the UBBL and other Acts in their design drawings and documentation and sworn as such therein.

During this construction stage, all the professionals must now ensure that the construction actually complies with the design.   Legally, the UBBL now enforce individual certification for the many stages of the work.   The relevant construction professionals are required by the UBBL to certify the construction work under their expertise on specific Form Gs together with the builders and contractors.   If the architect or engineer is also the “Principal Submitting Person”, he will also be counter-endorsing on all the 21 Form Gs and hence will be responsible for the whole of the work or the development.   

The duty to certify the stages of the development is enforced by law vide the UBBL and other related Acts.   Construction professionals should be aware that a breach of this duty would expose them to claims for fraud due to wrongful certification or economic loss arising out of the natural consequence of the breach.

5.0       SUMMARY

THE REASONS TO KNOW AND APPLY THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS

Construction professionals are expected to apply a reasonable standard of skill and care required of their fields.  Construction professionals cannot undertake their work dutifully and properly without considering all the design parameters which include the statutory requirements.

Among the reasons for construction professionals to know and apply the statutory requirements, such as the UBBL, is best to quote written judgements from two court cases in England which have been referred by the Malaysian courts in tort cases involving construction professionals:

1.   Professionals will not be judged as laymen but as persons who possess the “standard of ordinary skilled man exercising and professing to have the special skill.” [Mc Nair J in Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee, 1957].  
2.   “A professional man should command the corpus of knowledge which forms part of the professional equipment of the ordinary member of his profession.”……”It is the standards prevailing at the time of the acts or omission, which provide the relevant yardstick” [Bingham LJ in Eckersley v Binnie, 1988].

It should also be highlighted that the society is becoming more litigious.   Many litigation cases involving construction professionals have put the blame on the professionals for breaches of duty of one kind or another.   Lately, there have been a number of high profile court cases where architects, engineers and building draughtsman have been implicated in building failures – where their designs have been put to questions, and over economic loses – where their certifications have been disputed.  

Therefore, all construction professionals should make more effort to be conversant with the provisions in the various Acts controlling the building industry and the terms, and the conditions of their professional duties to all parties, be they directly or indirectly involved.

Badrul Hisham Mohamad Said    
November 24, 2009


Further Readings & References:

1.           Act 133 - Street, Drainage & Building Act, 1974 / Act A1286 Amendment 2007
2.           Act 139 - Factories and Machinery Act, 1967
3.           Act 118 - Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act, 1966 / Act1289 Amendment 2007 
4.           Act 318 - Strata Titles Act, 1985 / Act A1290 Amendments 2007
5.           Act 56   - National Land Code, 1965
6.           Act 341 - Fire Services Act, 1988
7.           Act 514 - Occupational Safety and Health Act, 1994
8.           Act 520 - Construction Industry Development Board Act, 1994
9.           Act 127 - Environmental Quality Act, 1974
10.        Act 138 - Registration of Engineers Act, 1976 / A1288 Amendments 2007
11.        Act 171 - Local Government Act, 1976
12.        Act 172 - Town and Country Planning Act, 1976
13.        Act 418 - Water Act, 1920
14.        Act 447 - Electricity Supply Act, 1990
15.        Act 486 - Land Acquisition Act, 1960
16.        Act 508 - Sewerage Services Act, 1993
17.        Act 588 - Communications and Multimedia Act, 1988
18.        Chen Thiam Leong, The Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia, 15 August 2007
19.        Chong Thaw Sing & Patrick Chia, Tort in Construction – Design Liability
20.        Chong Thaw Sing, “Certification in Malaysia: A Choice Between the Devil and Deep Blue Sea” Continuing                  Professional Development (CPD) Seminar 2007, PAM Centre Kuala Lumpur
21.        Ho Wai Ping, Building Legislation and Regulations II
22.        Hussein Hamzah, Building Legislation and Regulations I
23.        Ismail Omar, Rules Affecting the Land Development Process in Malaysia – A Review on Regulation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
24.        P Kasi, The Architect and Land Matters – Planning, Conversion and Subdivision of Land
25.        Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia, Certificates of Compliance (CCC), http://www.pam.org.my/ccc.asp
26.        Dalam Mahkamah Rayuan Malaysia Kuala Lumpur (Bidangkuasa Rayuan) Rayuan Sivil No.B-02-757-98, di antara Lim Teck Kong (Pemohon), dan Dr Abdul  Hamid Abdul Rashid / Dr Khatiza  Bt Haida  Ali (Responden)
27.        Syamsul Zuraida Zainudin , Prof Ir Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir , Prof Madya Ir Dr Nor Mariah Adam , Zurkarnain Mohd Kassim, Future of  Fire Safety for Malaysian Housing,
28.        Ibu Pejabat Bomba, Jabatan Bomba Dan Penyelamat Malaysia.-Penentuan Keperluan Kelengkapan Menentang Kebakaran Bagi Bangunan Servis Apartmen, Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia

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