The Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB) stated in a press conference on April 8 that its members have discovered around 2,000 incidents in which signatures of architects were forged. Despite written complaints to Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) to take legal action against buildings that had taken approval on the basis of forged signatures, there has been no response from the regulatory body. What this means of course is that we have thousands of buildings that could potentially be termed “risky” as there is every scope of them being built in violation of both the building code and fire safety measures.
Rajuk is not the only agency that has failed to play its role as a competent regulator. Building rules in 2006 made it mandatory for builders to have measures for fire safety, environmental conservation, and universal access to the building. The rules state that new building owners need to obtain occupancy certificates that are supposed to be given after inspection, but only a fraction of building owners actually have them. That means the bulk of new buildings that come up obtain these certificates by resorting to graft. There is no other option but to make occupancy certificates mandatory, as there is no alternative to better monitoring and enforcement of codes and laws. Rajuk needs better trained manpower as does the fire service department but these are long-term solutions. In the short-term, risky buildings need to be identified and retrofitted. But most importantly, corruption has to be checked at the regulatory level if we want no repetition of the FR Tower incident.