Architecture Revision - Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 (Malaysia Law That Dictates Our Built Environment)

in OCD2 years ago (edited)

Street, drainage and building act is an Act to amend and consolidate the laws relating to street, drainage and building in local authority areas in West Malaysia, and for purposes connected therewith. This act is to ensure uniformity of law policy to make any law with regard to local government in matters relating to street, drainage and building. In essence, this act regulates the built environment that we are living in. Without this act, we may not be enjoying the comprehensive infrastructure, safe and fit for purpose buildings to be used for different purposes.

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There are a total of 8 Parts in the Act whereby I will be listing down keywords and some notes for study purpose:

- Part 1 - Preliminary

In this part, it is mostly about the interpretation of terms used in the Act for understanding.


- Part 2 - Streets

- Maintenance and repair
- Power to make improvement, repair or acquiring land for streets
- Private person's power
- Local authority recovering cost from the owner (usually from developer)
- Plans approval (in order to approve a development, the street must be planned well in terms of sizes, circulation and accessibility)
- Prohibition (to remove any obstruction)
- Public & private street
- Preparation of scheme
- Foot ways, lamp posts, fire hydrants and other infrastructure to make the street functional
- Naming of streets
- Plantation of trees and maintenance of the trees & other plants

- Part 3 - Drains

- Maintaining and repair of any public drains (sewerage, public drain, stormwater drain)
- Building needs to be connected with drains (this will be included as part of the criteria for plans approval)
- Penalty for non-compliance
- Cleaning to ensure the drains are clear of obstruction and no smell nuisance
- Ensure sufficient urinals and water closets by Local Authority (this is related to plans approval whereby Local Authority will require adding urinals and water closets for public or private buildings)
- Ventilation pipes for sewerage

- Part 4 - Back-Lanes

- Local authority acquire land for back lanes
- Order for laying out back lanes to owners
- Declaration of back lane as public street (so by right, no one can put anything or park any vehicles that will cause obstruction in the back lane)
- Recover the cost of acquisition of land and laying out of back lanes from owner

- Part 5 - Buildings

- Notice for new buildings
- Earthworks
- Safety and stability of site (to ensure that any site in operation needs to be safe and not affecting the public as well. Hoarding is required to ensure the site is enclosed from the access of public)
- Power of Local Authority (Revocation, approval and inspection)
- Demolition or removal of the unauthorized building (Section 72, this is one of the powers of the Local Authority where they have the rights to demolish any unauthorized building, usually that endangers the safety of the public)
- Penalty to let out or sell the unauthorized building (Section 73, it is important for the public to know our own right when buying or renting a place, especially shops, factories which may have high chances of not having proper certification AKA unauthorized. The local authority will have the right to ask the owner to get a proper certificate of completion and compliance through whitewashing ops or to demolish the unauthorized part at a given time. Failure of compliance will have to face 2 years of imprisonment and RM10k of fine (can be either one or both at max) for selling unauthorized building while renting out unauthorized building will land us RM1k of fine)
- Demolition and power of order for the unfit house
- Penalty for failure of building or earthwork (Section 71, this is where architects are liable for. Any misconstruction which caused by lack of supervision, or mis-design and miscalculation, including misuse of building, the liable person will be fine RM500k or 10 years imprisonment (can be both and max))
- Prohibition to erect buildings on the insanitary ground (meaning there are organic waste buried under the ground which has not been disposed of properly, this will affect the potable water supply and also possible disease outbreak)
- Movable shed need permission (Section 81, this is where hawkers, F&B outlets owner will need to be aware of as they usually add a movable shed to let the customer have a better-shaded space to enjoy their meal. Yet, this structure will require a proper permit to be installed and if non-compliance will be fine RM1k and the structure will be removed by the Local Authority with the Mandatory Order from Magistrate's Court)
- Shutting down ruinous, dangerous or deserted buildings (we can see this in heritage towns like Georgetown, Penang where some of the old Eclectic shophouses have been shut down by the Local Authority from the public to ensure the public safety)
- Nuisance and non-compliance (nuisance refers to any act that may cause discomfort or endanger the public)

- Part 6 - Miscellaneous

- Mandatory Order - issued by Magistrate's Court for failure to comply notice from the Local Authority (Local Authority needs to appeal to the Magistrate's Court to get this order, they may be rejected as well). There are three points to take note about this order:
    - RM250 fine per day during the default period, meaning the longer the person refuses to pay and act, the more the fine accumulated
    - Unknown owner (then there will be no fine inflicted since no one can be found liable)
    - Ex Parte for immediate action (mostly due to dangerous situation, so Local Authority can take immediate action without the consent from Magistrate's Court)
- Power to enter land or building for purpose of the Act (Section 97, this is the section that the Local Authority uses to do an inspection. By using Proviso, Local Authority can also enter dwelling houses with 24 hours of notice)
- Recovery of Arrears (To those people who defaulted from the Order and Fine, the Local Authority will have the power to seize any movable properties and auction for sale to recover their cost. This act will not require any warrant)
- Prosecution
- Evidence
- Improvement Service Fund (this is the budget in every Local Authority to use for the building, improvement and maintenance of the street, drainage and building)

- Part 7 - By-laws

Section 133 is the section in the Act that enables the State to create supporting By-Laws in order to carrying out the provisions of this Act.

- Part 8 - Repeals, transitional provisions, etc.

- Repeals (removal or reversal of law)
- Transition provisions (time where any enactment of law comes into force or ended, can expedite if required)

The significance of understanding this Act is to ensure we are helping the State to maintain a good condition of our living environment. We should learn about our rights from the Act itself and know the responsibility of different parties like Local Authority, owners (developers, landowners) and even leasing agents. By having the knowledge of the Act, we can prevent ourselves from getting properties that are unsafe and unfit for the purpose that we intended to use for. Yet, there are also parts that should be improved like the application and approval process of items like the movable sheds. Understandably, F&B owners would like to provide convenience and comfort for the customers, both the business owners and the Local Authority can have a better understanding from the standpoint of each other to get a better solution. The reason of me raising this is that I saw cases from local news that some eatery centres in Selangor, Penang and Johor that I had been to also encounter the forced removal and confiscation of movable properties like the shed, tables and chairs on the unauthorized area (usually the public street). In actual fact, even the corridor pathway cannot be occupied as it will obstruct the people to walk through. When there is complain, the Local Authority will act accordingly. Thus, as a business owner, it is good to understand the regulation and also be considerate for the public as well.

Personally, I believe that in every part of the conflict, there can be a better solution either from the point of design or policymaking. Hence, voicing out is one of the crucial parts to make the problems to be heard and interested parties will get involved and make changes.

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