THE Uniform Building By-law 1984 has to be reviewed to ensure houseowners in Kuala Lumpur complete renovating their homes by a given time.
Mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan said this was to help the affected neighbours, especially those living next door, have a peaceful life.
He said this following concerns raised by residents over the loopholes in the said by-law.
Currently, the mayor said, there was no law that imposed a time frame for a person to complete renovation works in Kuala Lumpur or in other local authorities.
He, however, added that action could still be taken against offenders under the Local Government Act.
Nor Hisham told StarMetro that a meeting with all department heads would be held soon to address concerns over houseowners who drag their feet to complete renovations, causing others to suffer in the process.
“We will call for a meeting and re-look at this concern which needs to be addressed.
“But having said that, this does not mean that the person doing the renovation is absolved of any responsibility.
“If renovation has become a public safety issue, or a health hazard and a nuisance to the community living in the neighbourhood, we can take action under the Local Government Act.
“But people must lodge a complaint with us and inform us of the safety concerns they are facing, and we will send a notice to the houseowner to make good whatever damage caused by his or her construction, ” said Nor Hisham.
Planning law expert Derek Fernandez said it was well within the power of the mayor under the provisions of the law to come up with new guidelines on time frame and validity period.
“The mayor has the sole power under the provisions of the law for DBKL to fix a validity key period for any building plan approval, ” he said, adding that the plan would no longer be valid if the work was not completed on time.
Fernandez said those who faced problems with their neighbours’ renovation and know that it was violating the law, should not suffer in silence.
Residents can seek redress through the local authority to abate the nuisance law under the Local Government Act, he said.
Or they could take a civil suit to stop the nuisance, but they should not have to sue, and could instead sue the local authority to compel it to take action, he added.
Fernandez said those whose property were damaged by the hacking and drilling were entitled to civil compensation.
“If there is damage to property, injury, or nuisance suffered from a neighbour’s renovation works, the aggrieved party has the right to demand for the damaged building to be repaired by the party carrying out the renovations.
“Victims do not have to live through the broken ceiling and cracked walls. In fact, DBKL can order the owner to rectify the damage to his neighbour’s house, before proceeding with his own renovations, ’’ he added.
DBKL Building Control Department director Norizan Sulaiman said the local authority had come up with new guidelines on renovations a few years ago to allow residents the flexibility to upgrade their homes.
“While we have allowed this flexibility, we do not condone any deviation from the approved plans and those who do so have to be prepared to watch us demolish it, ’’ said Norizan.
She added that there was a task force that was going around monitoring ongoing projects, especially the big ones that have deviated from the plans and DBKL had to date issued millions of ringgit in compounds for various infringements.
Norizan said owners would do well in hiring a professional engineer, architect or registered draughtsman to oversee the renovations.
“Appointing unqualified contractors may be cheap, but owners are the ones who will have to pay for any infringements or accidents, ’’ she added.