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Building Codes are rules meant to stipulate the minimum standards that must be followed when a building is being constructed. They must follow these codes to gain permission for planning and construction from the authorities. The main purpose of a building code is to secure the health, safety, and overall well-being of its occupants by ensuring proper standards in the construction and design of buildings. Most countries and territories have their own building codes set to the general needs of the stakeholders of their relevant territories. And Bangladesh is no exception. Today, we will be discussing the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) in detail.

What is the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC)?

Construction Workers
The BNBC is a guideline for proper construction practices

The Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) was first published in 1993 to regulate the construction of buildings and maintain and uphold them to certain standards. Before the code, the only laws pertaining to construction was the Building Construction Act, enacted way back in 1952, during the Pakistan era. The need for the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) arose with a sudden growth and development in the country, which led to a massive real estate boom starting in the early 90s. The first version was published in 1993.

Techniques used in construction remained stagnant for some time, which resulted in no changes or amendments in the code for a long while. It also added bureaucracy which meant that the code would only be enacted as law in Bangladesh in the year 2006, with the amendment in Section 18A of the 1952 Building Construction Act. It was also the first time amendments were made in the document. Further events and massive growth in the real estate sector led to massive changes in 2017, where the major amendments were made to the code to make it more relevant, which we will be talking about later on in the article.

The BNBC And Its Contents

Law books
The BNBC is enshrined in Bangladeshi Law

The Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) is overseen by the Housing and Building Research Institute (HBRI). And they have taken help from the Bureau of Research Testing and Consultancy (BRTC), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), and leading experts in the field to review and update the code when necessary. This code establishes the minimum standards for construction, design, material quality, proper usage, maintenance, and location of buildings. The BNBC is meant to be applied by professionals working with construction projects, including architects, safety inspectors, structural engineers, interior designers, environmental scientists, contractors, and lawyers. 

The most recent draft of the code, BNBC 2017, contains 10 parts with a total of 49 chapters in between them, and these parts are divided into 3 volumes, as the whole document is quite hefty, with over 2000 pages in it. The parts are – Scope and Definitions; Administration and Enforcement; General Building Requirements, Control, and Regulation; Fire Protection; Building Materials; Structural Design; Construction Practices and Safety; Building Services; Alterations, Addition To and Change of Use of Existing Buildings; and Signs and Outdoor Displays. Part 6, Structural Design, is the largest part of the BNBC, and contains over 10 chapters.

Recent Changes In The Latest Draft

Excavator
The real estate sector has seen rapid development in recent years

When the code was first published in 1993, it was relevant to the industry at that time. But it had remained unchanged for many years, and the real estate and construction sector seemed to have outgrown the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC). The past twenty-odd years have seen the introduction of new materials, methods, and technologies in both design and construction of buildings. Plus, increasing cases of safety hazards such as fires have resulted from negligence in construction and from flagrant violation of the code in some cases. This is why the recent changes made in BNBC 2017 are monumental.

All of the content of the previous drafts have been retained. Some of the new topics that the latest draft of the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC), BNBC 2017, touches upon include the jurisdiction of local authorities, revised seismic zone maps, revised wind speed maps, and eligibility of professionals. New chapters have also been added, such as chapters on energy efficiency and sustainability, rainwater management, maintenance, steel-concrete structures, bamboo structures, and universal accessibility. Readability of the document has also been improved, with many figures being redrawn and improved.

In the end, the latest changes made to the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) will have a massive impact on construction practices in the country, but only with proper enforcement and oversight of the code. The updated BNBC also touches upon the topic of sustainability in construction, one of the hottest topics nowadays. This becomes apparent with the fact that many new skyscrapers across Dhaka have been looking to gain LEED certification. For the latest in Real Estate news and trends, keep updated with our Bproperty blog. Let us know your thoughts on the article in the comments section.

1 Comment

  1. Imamul Majid

    I would like to know the requirements on fire safety in residential buildings. Is it mandatory to install fire hydrant system in multistory buildings.

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