The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has written to all the local levels, instructing them to strictly enforce the National Building Code and Standard for approval of blueprint, monitoring and regulation with regard to building construction.

According to the letter dispatched along with necessary directives and housing designs yesterday, the local levels will have to make provision for passing the building blueprint in a manner to promote local architecture, ancient culture and arts. The MoFAGA said it would be applicable to public, private, community and partnership buildings.

"No house shall be built in areas vulnerable to rain-induced disasters such as flood, landslide and inundation. The slope of land where a house is built should not exceed 20 per cent," it says, quoting the building code and standard provided by the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction.

It prohibits people from building house near rivers and streams. The building code requires the concerned local level to coordinate with the land revenue and survey offices to maintain the record of lands on the beds of rivers, streams, lake, canal and pond to ensure that they are not encroached for environment protection and safety of the people.

This directive was in response to increasing public complaints regarding weak enforcement of the building code and standard despite huge loss of lives and property in rain-induced disasters and the 2015 earthquakes. The building code requires architect or engineer and technician to supervise the building design, infrastructure and construction through the local level.

The number of storeys of a house or building to be permitted for construction depends on geographical areas, topographical condition and local laws. This building code covers the requirements for seismic analysis and design of various building structures to be constructed. It is applicable to buildings made of reinforced concrete, structural steel, steel concrete composite, timber and masonry.

"The structure shall be designed and constructed to withstand seismic forces," reads the code.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 11 2021, of The Himalayan Times.