Ghana Building Code is “major milestone for the country” says David Adjaye

Adjaye Associates is designing the National Cathedral of Ghana

Ghana’s first Building Code marks a pivotal moment for architecture and construction in the country, says Ghanian British architect David Adjaye.

Adjaye welcomed the first official Ghana Building Code, which the Ghanaian government introduced at the end of last year, saying that it was a “highly significant step”.

The Ghanaian British architect who was knighted for services to architecture in 2017, said there was a sense of urgency around the need for a standardised set of practices for architecture and construction in Ghana.

“Creating safer, more accessible buildings, residences and infrastructure within Ghana is paramount,” he explained.

“One such example being the provision of earthquake resistant construction technology and practice.”

Building code will establish standardised regulations

Ghana gained independence from British colonial rule in 1957. A draft code was introduce in the 1970s to replace outdated regulations from the 1960s, and National Building Regulations were ratified in 1996.

The Ghana Building Code is a modified adoption of the International Building Code. The 1,700 page document was created by the Ghana Standards Authority for the ministry of works and housing.

British Ghanaian architect David Adjaye believes the introduction of building codes is a pivotal moment. Photo by Alex Fradki

“The implementation of the new Building Codes will most certainly establish standardised regulations on quality, durability and materiality within construction practice,” said Adjaye.

“It is highly significant step towards the development of new, national infrastructure programmes and sign of the progressive nature of Ghana’s governance today.”

The founder of Adjaye Associates, which is currently building the National Cathedral of Ghana in Accra, believes the building code is an opportunity for the country.

“Absolutely it will improve the architecture and construction profession in Ghana, I am particularly excited as the adoption of these new standards will provide a comprehensive national framework and benchmark that will assist future generations and further the development of local professional skills and expertise.”

Earthquake fears and building collapses

The code was introduced following a succession of fatal building collapses in the west African country. Last year a construction worker died when a building he was working on collapsed. In 2012 a multi-storey shopping centre in Accra collapsed due to faulty construction, killing nine people.

Ghana’s vice president Mahamudu Bawumia described the regulations as “long overdue” at the official launch.

“Ghana has been operating without a comprehensive building code since independence,” the Construction Index quoted Bawumia saying at the unveiling of the Ghana Building Code.

“Essentially, it has been a free for all in the building and construction industry with no clearly defined standards.”

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