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Ministry agrees to include sustainable design criteria in Sabah Building Ordinance
KOTA KINABALU: Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM), Sabah Chapter has proposed to the Local Government and Housing Ministry for the incorporation of sustainable design criteria into the state’s building by-laws.

It was among the several pressing issues highlighted by the Chapter’s officials during a recent courtesy call on the ministry’s permanent secretary Datuk Matius Sator, in an effort to preserve the environment and the concern over global warming.

“Encouragement and incentives will be given to buildings which have achieved the GBI (Green Building Index) certification.

“Some of the simple and basic energy saving design and construction details should be part of the regulation to be complied with in new building construction,” said its chairman Ar. Ho Jia Lit in a statement yesterday.

During the meeting with Sator, the Chapter highlighted the issue on the referral of development plans to the Central Board for approval.

In order to speed up the process, Ho said the Chapter recommended that minor amendments made to the layout of development plans need not be re-submitted to the Central Board.

In an effort to be more transparent and to dismiss misunderstanding on the efficiency of the Central Board approving process, the ministry agreed to release the statistics on the number of development plans submitted and approved by the Board.

In view of the rising costs of properties in the State and the outdated and uncoordinated ad-hoc by-laws and guidelines, Ho said the Chapter stressed the importance on the revision of a uniform and relevant residential set back guideline.

According to him further, the ministry had also agreed to look into the formulation of the Sabah Building Ordinance and when such an exercise is carried out, the ministry would invite professional bodies to be represented in the committee.

The Chapter has also emphasised that the City Hall has already begun using a new residential setback guidelines albeit on a trial basis. In Sandakan, the setback guideline is different.

Confusion would arise when development plans were sent to the Central Board for approval, said Ho, adding that very often, development plans would be rejected as the new setback guideline is inconsistent with the existing by-laws.

He pointed out that in a recent court case, the property inspection reports prepared by one professional architect were used and accepted as evidence for the assessment of the conditions of the houses in dispute.

He said they informed the ministry of the importance of inspection reports for cases referred to the Housing Tribunal.

As part of the service to the building industries, the charges for the reports are very reasonable, Ho added.

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