During the launch ceremony of the National Construction Industry policy in April, Eng. John Nasasira, the Works and Transport Minister, said its implementation will enable the works and transport sector to create and deliver the physical infrastructure that is central to the country’s economic development.

Funded from the Consolidated Fund, this commission’s main function will be to provide leadership, co-ordination, promote awareness and coordinate the development and periodic review of standards in various sectors of the industry.

Thus, it is expected to enhance service delivery, stability, improve performance and growth of the businesses and professions within an organised and continuously improving institutional framework.

This follows a cabinet approval in 2010, of a policy to develop and further strengthen the national construction industry so as to better its services and weed out quack constructors responsible for the numerous collapsing of buildings collapses and shoddy road construction.

These developments will reinforce the support in the sector by legal entities responsible for registration and professional skills development. These include the Surveyors Registration Board, Engineers Registration Board and Architects Registration Board.

Other relevant laws that affect the sector include the Land Act and the Public Health Act. Uganda is in the process of passing other laws and policies to consolidate building construction standards and enhance the competitiveness in the industry; such is the National Construction Industry policy and the Building Control Bill 2009.

Investment in the building and construction sector is governed by a number of laws and regulations including the Town and Country Planning Act, the Building Code, Condominium Properties Act, National Shelter Strategy and National Housing Policy. The government of Uganda is currently in the process of passing other laws and policies to consolidate building construction standards and competitiveness in the industry.

One of the strengths of Uganda’s construction industry is based on professionalism. Professional associations such as the Uganda Association of Consulting Engineers, the Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers, Institute of Quantity Surveyors and the Architect Institute of Uganda comprising Architects, Engineers, Planners and Surveyors, have ensured that professional ethics and standards are observed by bona fide actors in the sector. The associations enhance quality standards and service delivery through joint communication, problem solving, and research and technology advancement.

Uganda’s building and construction industry that had stagnated in the 1970s as a consequence of the poor management of the economy, has been booming over the last 20 years. sUS$1.5bn in 2007.

Uganda’s building sector which is categorised into residential, non residential and road civil works, is growing rapidly with the number of residential building structure plans submitted, approved and issued growing faster than any other categories. In 2008, 55 per cent of plans submitted were residential compared with 27 per cent commercial building plans and 18 per cent industrial and institution plans.

Although growth in the industry has resulted from a number of factors, the high population growth of 3.2 per cent has played a major role. Uganda’s population is currently 32 million of which 3.1 per cent are in Urban Areas and 30.5 per cent live in rural areas. The current housing need is estimated at 6.4 million housing units whereas the housing stock stands at 5.7 million housing units. The total national backlog is 0.7 million housing units. Urban areas have 0.76 million housing units with backlog of 0.168 million units.

Current housing stock in rural areas is estimated at 4.6 million housing units with a 0.5 million backlog. The projected population by 2020 will be 47 million people implying that, the projected housing need by 2020 is 9.7 million units while average annual housing requirement is 0.21 million.

The sector has witnessed growth averaging 15.5 per cent since 2004/05, higher than the annual economic growth of Uganda. The growth has been fuelled by the high population growth rates, growth of the economy, national construction of universal primary and secondary schools and health facilities, nationwide road construction and the raise in workers remittances.