The history of this department dates back to the 1950s when the Building Control Division was a part of the City Architect Department. In 1983, the Building Control Division was merged with the Planning Department to form the Planning and Building Control Department.
In view of the increase of building control functions and duties, on the 25th of September 2005, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall Administration separated the Building Control Division from the Planning and Building Control Department to form a new department known as the Building Department.
As the local authorities, Kuala Lumpur City Hall is responsible for ensuring that all buildings in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur are safe, comfortable to use and habitable. The control of design, construction and maintenance is the responsibility of the professional staff at the Building Department.
The Building Department also plays a role in protecting the interests of residents from wrongful practices in various aspects of construction work as well as giving priority to public safety and comfort. All construction work must comply with the legal requirements. This is achieved when the building plans are vetted and scrutinised in detail before being approved and all construction work is monitored to ensure it meets with the approval requirements.
The construction site also needs proper monitoring to ensure that all temporary buildings such as temporary worker accommodations, site offices, show houses, project signage, safety fences, safety nets and so on are according to the legal requirements.
Efficient and effective enforcement of the rules and regulations will ensure that they are followed. The common offences committed include the erection of buildings without proper authorisation, allowing uninhabited buildings to be left to ruin and ignoring the required levels of safety at the construction site. Offences such as occupying a building without the proper Certificate of Fitness or building without approved plans will result in enforcement actions that include issuance of compounds, taking court actions and the demolition of the said building.
To ensure the comfort and safety of the public is continuously protected, increased upgrading of the quality of buildings is necessary. For example, facilities for the disabled must be provided at all public buildings. Scheduled inspections of buildings that are over ten years old has begun to determine the structural integrity and stability of the said buildings.
The control of the design, construction and maintenance of buildings in Malaysia is increasingly challenging. The government is required to provide a comfortable and quality living environment for the people. The role of the Urban Design and Building Department is now considered an important one in the administration of Kuala Lumpur City Hall in order to achieve the goals of making Kuala Lumpur a world class city.
Delivery and approval systems that are efficient and transparent will attract investors, making Kuala Lumpur into an investment location that is competitive and profitable due to the various economic activities that can be conducted in the buildings as soon as the Certificate of Fitness is issued.
This department, which has more that 130 staff, is the largest organisation implementing the task of controlling design, construction and maintenance of buildings throughout Malaysia.
The proper implementation of duties will improve the quality of the living environment for residents making Kuala Lumpur a city that is sustainable for future generations.