Some of the blame must be shouldered by Western brands, said Matab Choudhury, director general of the British Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, in an interview with CNN's Max Foster.
"They go to Bangladesh, they ask for the buying agent and they say, 'OK, we want 2 million of this garment. How cheap can you go?' " he said.
He accused some agents from Western companies of seeking out factories that are not in compliance with safety laws.
The U.S. State Department said Thursday it wasn't able to provide details about whether American companies were connected to operations in the collapsed building.
But the disaster underscores "the urgent need for the government, owners, buyers, and labor to find ways of improving working conditions in Bangladesh," said Patrick Ventrell, a State Department spokesman.
Bangladesh Housing and Public Works Secretary Khandaker Showkat Hossain told BSS that the government was planning to form a separate authority to monitor compliance with the country's building code, which critics say is often flouted.
"We are seeking technical support from Japan's government in this regard, as the Japanese are very sound in taking earthquake preparedness," he said.
The last major building collapse in Bangladesh occurred in 2005, in the same area as Wednesday's, and killed more than 70 people, the national news agency said.
A fire at the Tazreen Fashions Factory in another suburb of Dhaka in November killed at least 112 people. Tazreen had made goods for Walmart and Sears, though both companies said they were unaware that the factory had made goods for them.