NEW BUILDING CODE FOR TONGA

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Oct. 2, 2000 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---Tonga is formulating a national building code that will regulate the kingdom's construction activities.

The Ministry of Works has been trying to establish a suitable code since damage caused by Cyclone Isaac in 1982.

The current project was initiated by Tonga's Cabinet in 1996, but the arrival of an Australian volunteer has provided a much-needed boost.

The government is working with a consultant from Queensland to adopt codes that are already used by many Pacific Island countries and territories.

The code will cover everything from residential homes to commercial buildings. Tonga currently doesn’t have a uniform building code.

"We have to look after the safety and health of people," a Ministry of Works spokesman said.

The code will need to be submitted for government and Parliamentary approval before it can be implemented.

The government is hoping to have the codes formulated by next May and approved by October 2001.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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