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Construction quality in Jordan

Aug 13,2015 - Last updated at Aug 13,2015

I have always wondered why people investing in property in Jordan are not aware of their rights in having the quality of construction conform to specifications listed in the building codes in accordance with the National Construction Law. 

This article is to inform owners how to look for the invisible quality of construction in their homes, such as thermal insulation, which is compulsory by law in Jordan. A formula controls the relationship between the thermal quality of both exterior walls and openings [windows and doors]. Correspondingly, a minimum thickness of five centimetres of a good quality low conductivity material is required for walls and roofs. There is also a relationship between the two, where a greater area of openings requires more insulation in walls to balance out the difference.

In Jordan’s juridical system, both the contractor and the engineering consultant are responsible for the safety and quality of a building for at least 10 years. Although the majority of construction in Jordan falls short of implementing national codes of practice, which are ironically considered among the best in the Arab world, no legal action has ever been taken for the poor thermal quality of construction in the Kingdom, to the best of my knowledge.

I believe that poor thermal quality in the construction industry has a great impact on the running cost of any structure, its durability, environmental pollution and, above all, upon occupants’ health.

Buildings with poor thermal quality require more fuel for heating and cooling, which consequently wears out the mechanical system faster, produces more pollution from burning fossil fuels as well as excessive electricity consumption and, most importantly, creates an unhealthy environment due to thermal discomfort in summer and mould growth in winter. Thermal discomfort has also been identified as a factor that contributes to strokes and respiratory diseases.

The question remains: Why is quality control not implemented in the construction industry although regulations are compulsory? What sorts of mechanisms are required to set this straight?

I have always wondered why owners do not file lawsuits to be compensated for all the losses incurred as a result of bad quality construction! If this begins soon, then both consultants and contractors will refine the quality of construction before the government can put measures in place to control the quality of work in the construction industry. At least I hope it does.

 

The writer is a green building and energy audit consultant. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

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