LAHORE - On the pattern of Karachi Building Control Authority, the Punjab government is planning to constitute Building Control Authority (BCA) in the City to regulate construction of commercial and residential buildings keeping in view existing building bylaws. The decision will help checking rampant violations in the construction business. The move to form Building Control Authority followed remarks passed by a full bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, which had summoned chief secretary Punjab, district nazim Lahore, and director general Lahore Development Authority (LDA) in a case regarding illegally constructed high-rise buildings in last month. According to the sources, a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Javed Mehmood and attended by DG LDA Shahid Mehmood, secretary Planning and Development and others held the other day agreed to erect a separate agency following the footsteps of Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) instead of present pattern of prototypes like Wasa and Tepa. The meeting decided that after finalising the modalities for the formation of the authority, proposal would be submitted to the Punjab Assembly for formal legislation, sources revealed. They further disclosed that comprehensive report and recommendations for the constituting the proposed agency would be presented during the court hearing going to be held today (Monday). It important to note that with the formation of the proposed authority, the department within LDA and Towns wings dealing with building construction in the city would be made defunct. Chief Engineer TEPA Imtiaz Abid, a subordinate agency of Tepa, told The Nation on Sunday that the mess regarding building construction, especially high-rise structures, kept augmenting due to the absence of a proper mechanism which could not be streamlined. He said town planners without even basic knowledge of building architecture, structural design, complexity of mapping, height and strength of buildings, had the powers to allow the construction of a building. He believed that traffic engineers, urban planners, architects, environmentalists, town planners and other stakeholders should be involved during construction process. He said initially, Punjab government had been weighing up three options for the constitution of the building control body. First option was to integrate town-planning wings of CDGL and LDA with DG LDA to head the proposed the body. Second option entailed the constitution of the controlling agency to be headed by an Executive District Officer that was to work under the directions of the DCO. And the third arrangement seeks an independent agency on the pattern of Karachi Building Control Authority that is agreed upon. According to the sources, the proposed Building Control Authority (BCA) will encompass LDA controlled areas, private housing societies and all 9 towns that fall within the jurisdiction of the City District Government Lahore (CDGL). However, it would not cover cantonment boards area. Sources say all the powers being exercised by the LDA and Towns in terms of mapping, construction, building bylaws and assessing structural strength of the buildings would be delegated to the proposed authority, which would appoint architects, structural engineers, environmentalists and other technical staff. Sources also disclosed that after Lahore, similar authorities would be constituted in other cities of the province. The proposed BCA will strive to develop an environment conforming to the rules and regulations, with a vision to meet the long-term housing requirements in an endured way. Its regulations will aim to ensure the health and safety of building users, promote good principles of built environment, facilitate sustainable development and contribute to meeting the needs of people. It will provide a framework of flexible functional requirements within which buildings can be designed and constructed. The BCA will also ensure regulating building construction according to the policy and planning of the agency. The agency will also provide a common platform for all building and construction stakeholders to collectively address issues related to the built environment by developing strategies, guidelines and concrete innovations for a healthy city for present and future generations. The BCA will undertake a major, proactive and innovative initiative of promoting sustainable buildings that would be energy efficient with a low climate change impact. It may be recalled that during the last hearing by the SC regarding the high-rise buildings, Justice Ramday took serious exception to fact of not appointing a structural engineer by the LDA despite the fact the directives regarding the matter was passed as late as in 2006. Making a mention of the period of his deposition, Justice Ramday observed that he had come back to the office, but the LDA had as yet not complied with the directions. The court was told by the director Town Planning that a requisition for the appointment of structural engineer was moved to the Punjab Service Commission where the matter was pending. But not surprisingly, he failed to answer a question how many total commercial buildings stood in the City. The bench had observed that a separate authority was functioning in Karachi to deal with the high-rise buildings, which must be followed in Punjab too. It also called for streamlining the construction while not allowing buildings without basic facilities. The chief secretary informed the court that the government was serious in taking action against illegal constructions and requested to give time for working out a plan of action in this regard, which would be to the satisfaction of the court. He said some recommendations in this regard were under consideration. It is pertinent to mention that two years back, the Punjab government decided to set up Building Control and Regulatory Authority but the decision remained pending. Sources in LDA say that the delay in establishment of the authority was because many senior officials wanted it to be under the control of the development authority concerned.