Uniform Building By-Law is a set of By-Laws (subsidiary legislation of Street, Drainage and Building Act) which focus on the regulation of the Building Part of the act. In essence, the by-law is to elaborate the details like standard and procedures to ensure the building is built for the purpose and safe for occupancy. For architects, we use the by-law as part of our practice reference for compliance when we are dealing with any building designs.
There are different parts of the by-law that I will break down for my revision purpose whereby I will state the salient points and keywords for every part:
- Part 1 - Citation & Interpretation
Most of the cases, Part 1 of every By-laws and Act has an interpretation of specific terms which prevent confusion when applying for compliance.
- Part 1A - Demolition of Building
This part involves details of what should be involved in the demolition of building like application process, submission process, power & role of the Local Authority, methods to use for demolition and duties & exemption.
In the demolition of the building, things may be complicated when it comes to a congested site like in the city. Thus, the process will be strictly monitored and calculated in order to retain the crucial element of the site (if intended to remain) and also not to affect the neighbouring or adjacent building. It is also important that when demolition happens (like using explosive to demolish building), the safety measure like parameter clearance and dust management has to be done professionally. A case study in Hong Kong where high rise being demolished floor by the floor is a very technical and impressive process of demolition to look into.
- Part 2 - Submission of Plans for Approval
In every building constructed in the land of Malaysia, it is supposed to go through this process of submission which in turn ensure the safety (fire fighting & basic comforts like natural light and ventilation). Yet, most of us are not informed about such requirements and would think that having such submission is just troublesome and a waste of money. Having proper documentation and approval for the building, it also has the assurance for the future buyers if one would like to sell off their property and earn a capital gain. Besides, insurance coverage for houses would look for proper certification as well.
In this part, there are keywords as below:
- Submissions and specifications - Principal submitting person or submitting person (usually architect who are heading the consultant team and the qualified person to deal with Local Authority) - Commencement of work, whenever we start anything, we need a notification and approval. Form B is used. - Alteration of work, whenever we alter anything, we need a notification and approval - Calculations & Structural Detail Plans which are done by a civil and structural engineer to ensure the structural integrity of our building. This is a very crucial part as the structure is what holds the building up. - Permits & Temporary Permits which allows a certain party (usually the Contractor) to conduct certain works at a given period of time. Of course, all the permits would require submission, fees and approval. - Advertisement hoarding, fencing & other temporary structure. All of these structures will require a temporary permit to stand as to where it is. - Certificate of Complete and Compliance is the most important certificate the shows that the building is safe and fit to occupied. This would require 21 different G Forms to be certified and inspection by Local Authority & Technical Agencies with a letter of approval.
- Part 3 - Space, Light and Ventilation
When we talk about habitable space, we would need to have a proper volume of space, a sufficient amount of natural lighting and ventilation. The different function will have different requirement for these three elements, depending on the usage itself. Here are the keywords:
- Open spaces, the easiest to comply with the requirements - Design for the disabled and reference to Malaysia Standard like MS1884 and MS1883 - Access from street - Projection of roof, ledge - Energy efficiency - Calculation of natural lighting and ventilation based on opening available - Size required for air wells - Minimum area for rooms like in a house, the master bedroom should be at least 11m² and the smallest room shall be no less than 6.5m². Width of the room also cannot be less than 2m. All of these are stated clearly in the by-law to prevent nonsensical room size being provided to the consumer. - Minimum area of water closets, bathroom, kitchen, etc. - Building height, whereby the different type of building will have a different minimum requirement for a clear height for room and floor. When we talk about room height, it refers to from floor to the ceiling level or the beam level (bottom). This is to ensure that we have an ample clearance for people to use the space without the danger of knocking on any installed components on the ceiling.
- Part 4 - Temporary Works in Connection with Building Operations
This is also related to the Temporary Permit mentioned in Part 2. In this part, it elaborates more about the temporary works with the keywords:
- Commencement - Responsibility of the Contractor and Local Authority. In essence, it is to ensure the site is safe and clean. When temporary works occur, it is usually filled with dust and building materials waste in solid and liquid form. Thus, the Contractor needs to be responsible to set up a proper temporary site waste management system to contain and filter the waste. This also includes the transportation of building materials and the Contractor will need to ensure that the public street is not affected. - Accessibility. When we are looking at megaprojects like MRT2 project in the city, we can see that the traffic flow is being temporary re-planned and this is also part of the responsibility of the Contractor to ensure that the vehicles have proper access. - Rising mains. This is required when we are dealing with high-rise projects where temporary electric and water supply are distributed through this rising mains.
- Part 5 - Structural Requirements
This part is referred by the Engineer to ensure the strength and durability of the materials used for the structure. Here we have keywords like:
- Materials - Loadings - Calculations - Partitions - Electrical and Mechanical - Floor and Roof - Foundations - Gantry crane girder - Post and Beam - Walls (Parapet, partition, brick, party, etc)
- Part 6 - Constructional Requirements
This part is most preferred by architects. This is the part to specify building details in construction drawings for the Contractor to build. The keywords are:
- Site details (drainage, cleaning, site office and so on) - Drainage and reticulation - Wall thickness - Recess - Staircases and Handrails - Roof covering - Change use of the building (when we change the use, we need to apply to Local Authority) - Lift - Pools - SPAH (Rain Water Harvesting System)
- Part 7 - Fire Fighting Requirements
This is the passive part of fire fighting requirements. In other words, this is the part where the design will help in the purpose of fire fighting, keeping the users safe from the fire. The keywords are:
- Purpose group, whereby different purpose group will have a different requirement (based on the people and sensitivity of the user like a warehouse with the chemical will have a higher risk than a residential apartment) - Compartment, is when the floor or wall are being used to compartment the space up due to its different risk nature. It can be a room or the whole floor as well. When a room is being compartment, it means that when a fire breaks out in that room, it can contain longer compared to a room without compartmentation. - Walls, cladding, floor, beam and columns - Shafts and Protected Lift Shafts - Ventilation and opening - Detectors (smoke and heat) - Place of assembly and stage requirements. For place of assembly, it has 3 categories depending on the capacity of people: Class A for more than 1,000 people, Class B for between 300 to 1,000 and Class C for between 100 to 300. - Fire stopping - Doors, exits, distance, width (egress = exit), seatings, gangways, lift lobbies. We may not aware that all of these are calculated and have a minimum to hit in order to ensure safety disperse of the crowd. - Occupancy load, calculation of the rate of discharge: 60 persons per minute for doors and corridors and 45 persons per minute for going downstairs. - Pressurization of lift lobbies or staircase (fire use). With that, the higher pressure within the space would push the fire away when people are trying to escape or hide in the pressurized space. - Materials used, there are 5 classes from 0 to 4. Class 0 is the safest which is almost inert to catching fire. - Fire resistance level
- Part 8 - Fire Detection, Fire Alarm and Fire Extinguisher
This is the active part of fire fighting where the users of the building or firefighters can utilize all the mentioned equipment to fight the fire. The keywords are:
- Hose reel - it can extend to around 30m - Portable extinguisher. There are four classes and used for different fire. - Sprinkler System which is commonly used in commercial buildings like offices, malls, etc. - Dry riser system is a piping system to transfer fire fighting water from ground to the top. Used for building within 18m to 30m. - Wet riser system is used for the building of more than 30m, is costlier to maintain as the system has to be always filled with water. - Fire fighting extinguisher system like carbon dioxide or foam that are used for a building like a power plant, chemical plant. - Fire command centre, voice communication - Director-General of Fire and Rescue (DGFR), every fire fighting aspects have to be approved by DGFR, one of the most crucial approval for a building submission. - Clear Marking and exit signage - Smoke vent - Atrium design (different sizes with specific requirements) - Emergency lights
- Part 9 - Miscellaneous
Power of Local Authority, failure of buildings
- 1st Schedule - Fees for Consideration of Plans, Permits, Etc
This part is a reference to calculate how much fees does the Local Authority will charge based on aspects like new buildings project, amendment of approved plans, alteration of the existing building, infrastructure, inspection fee, and permits. It also mentioned that if the site already starts work without approval then the Contractor shall bear a ten times fee.
- 2nd Schedule - Forms
This is a list of different forms that are for different purposes:
- Form A: Certification of demolition buildings or structure plans - Form B: Notice of commencement or resumption of building operations - Form C: Notice of Completion for Setting Out - Form D: Notice of Completion for Foundation - Form E: Application for Certificate of Fitness for Occupancy - Form F: Certificate of completion and compliance - Form F1: Certificate of Partial completion and compliance (in projects that are not under the Housing Development Act) There are 21 forms needed to be certified and documented before a CCC can be issued: - Form G1 Earthwork - Form G2 Setting Out - Form G3 Foundation - Form G4 Structural - Form G5 Internal Water Plumbing - Form G6 Internal Sanitary Plumbing - Form G7 Internal Electrical - Form G8 Passive Fire Fighting (by the architect) - Form G9 Active Fire Fighting (by mechanical engineer) - Form G10 Mechanical ventilation - Form G11 Lift and escalator - Form G12 Building (by the architect) - Form G13 External water supply - Form G14 External reticulation - Form G15 Sewerage treatment plant - Form G16 External electrical supply system - Form G17 Road and drainage - Form G18 Street lighting - Form G19 External main drain - Form G20 Telecommunication - Form G21 Landscape Depending on different projects, the forms required may vary by the involved works in the project.
- 3rd Schedule - Ventilation
It is a reference for a mechanical engineer to refer to the volume, airflow and occupancy load.
- 5th Schedule - Designation of Purpose Group
Used by all parties to refer to the purpose of each space as there is a different requirement for different purpose group. The grouping is:
- PG 1 - Small residential - PG 2 - Institutional - PG 3 - Other residential - PG 4 - Office - PG 5 - Shop - PG 6 - Factory - PG 7 - Place of Assembly - PG 8 - Storage General
- 6th Schedule - Calculation of Permitted Limits of Unprotected Areas
A less used schedule which is a reference for building separation distance, setbacks, and openings.
- 7th Schedule - Fire Exit
When we speak about a fire escape, this is where architects refer to and it is the most crucial part to comply as Form G8 is very dependent on this. There are two main parts which are the maximum travel distance (referring to how far should we travel from Point A, our initial point to point B which is the escape point which usually is an exit door) and calculation of occupancy load and capacity of exit (this is a width and size calculation of staircase, corridor and door)
- 8th Schedule - Classification of Restriction of Spread of Flame over Surface of Walls and Ceilings
A standard to refer when it comes to compliance for materials used. It is important that we do not use flammable materials as a finishing or main building materials.
- 9th Schedule - Limits of Compartment and Minimum Periods of Fire Resistance for Structure
This is a standard where an engineer will need to calculate how long can the material can last in the case of fire.
- 10th Schedule - Requirements for Fire Detection, Fire Alarm, Fire Extinguisher System
A standard to refer to equip different risk level spaces with different specification of fire detection, alarms and extinguisher system
This is the overall study for UBBL, next up I will be summarizing the Street, Drainage and Building Act, Strata Title Act and Housing Development Act for Saturday!