The National Assembly unanimously approved the Draft Law on Construction on Monday. It is meant to strengthen the management of building projects and consists of 22 chapters and 111 articles.
The draft law has been years in the making with technical officials from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction receiving input from, among many others, experts at Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and Tourism of Japan.
Having been approved by the Council of Ministers at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen on August 30, the draft law was unanimously approved by all 106 members of the National Assembly on Monday.
Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara said in the plenary session at the National Assembly before votes were cast that the law stipulates the principles, measures, procedures and mechanisms required to ensure safety and protect the interests of construction owners and the public.
“The law aims to ensure the development of safe and sustainable living and working environments by promoting accountability, efficiency and professionalism in the construction sector, and establishing monitoring and oversight mechanisms,” he said.
Sophara said the law also aims to increase investor confidence in the construction sector and boost the real estate market by developing measures and mechanisms to improve the quality and safety of all new buildings.
It would also help construction owners sell and rent to tourists, allow the government to collect taxes more effectively and enable the authorities to intervene swiftly to prevent accidents.
All stakeholders would have increased responsibilities under civil and criminal law, Sophara said.
A government statement dated August 30 said the law also states that the management of professionals in construction will be determined by an independent “Professionalism Board” that will oversee the issuing, suspension and revocation of licences and the loss of eligibility to conduct business in the construction sector.
“Chapter 8 specifies the duty to require a permit, and the conditions and procedures for granting, suspending and revoking such permits,” he said.
Nin Saphon, the chairperson of the National Assembly’s commission on public works, transport, telecommunications, post, industry, energy, commerce and land management, who presented a review of the draft law, said it aimed to set the principles, technical regulations, rules and procedures to manage the construction sector.
Chapter 20, Article 98, she said, states that anyone who uses or
supplies construction materials, equipment or techniques not in compliance with technical standards and causes injury or damages another’s health faces a prison sentence of one to three years and a fine of 20 to 40 million riel ($5,000 to $10,000).
“Article 99 states that architects and designers who fail to comply with technical standards and cause injury or damage to the health of others also face one to three years’ imprisonment and fines of 20 to 40 million riel.
“The same punishment awaits any builder who injures or harms the health of anyone due to constructing or demolishing a building not in accordance with the proper regulations.
“Article 101 stipulates a prison sentence of between two and five years, and a fine of 30 to 60 million riel, for anyone who inspects a project and causes injury or harm by incorrectly certifying it safe,” Saphon said.
After the draft law was approved on Monday, Sophara, who is also deputy prime minister, said: “The government and the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction would like to sincerely thank the president of the National Assembly and its members.
“The ministry will work hard to formulate the relevant standards and regulations to implement the law effectively and ensure the construction sector realises its potential, contributes to national economic development and helps to promote social harmony.”
In June, a seven-storey building collapsed in Sihanoukville, killing 28 people and injuring 26. The authorities subsequently arrested three Chinese nationals and a Cambodian.