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Northern region tops use of sustainable construction materials

Malawi’s northern region has achieved a 100 percent compliance rate on environmentally friendly construction regulations set by the National Construction and Industry Council.

Last year, the Council set up the regulations with the aim of protecting the environment through the use of environmentally friendly construction materials.

The NCIC set up the guidelines after gazetting the Use of Sustainable Construction Materials Regulations of 2018.

These regulations seek to promote the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly materials in the Construction Industry.

Before the regulations were set up, it had been observed that the process of producing fire cured bricks was having a major impact on the country’s environment.

In the guidelines set up by the NCIC, the Council indicated that in construction of public or commercial projects, contractors would be required to use cement blocks therefore prohibiting the use of traditionally fire cured bricks.

According to Linda Phiri who is Executive Director of the NCIC, they are so far satisfied with the rate of compliance in the construction industry.

Phiri highlights construction works in the northern region as having the highest rate of compliance since the regulations were set.

“There is good compliance in general, looking at our compliance report for the year, it is showing that the northern region has almost 100 percent compliance to the guidelines, in the central region about 90 percent and this is also the same in the southern,” Phiri explained.

She added that on their part, there is generally good compliance, but there is also a need for the government to assist them in implementing more mechanisms so that the regulations are rolled out to other construction works.

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Use of traditionally fire cured bricks has led to environmental degradation

Despite the regulations however, spot checks by Capital FM found some contractors using the prohibited bricks as construction material.

When asked on the matter, Phiri clarified that those using such materials now were only allowed continue as construction had started before they gazetted the regulations.

Phiri adds that they have also given clearance in cases in which communities donated burnt bricks to be used for construction.

Those who fail to comply with the set standards however risk disciplinary action which attracts a fine.

“We have monitors across the country monitoring public and private projects and we have found that there is good compliance.

This means that there has been a 100 percent compliance and no contractor has been fount not complying with this, and therefore there has been no need for us to take any kind of disciplinary action on the contractor.”

The NCIC is further planning on setting up regulations to promote a sustainable environment through setting up similar regulations in construction of private projects in the near future.



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