NEW REGULATIONS FOR THE BUILDING SECTOR

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If everything goes according to plan, a Barbados Building Standards Authority will be established to enforce the correct regulations in the construction industry. 

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Division of Trade, Industry and Commerce, Ernesta Drakes, who delivered the feature address on behalf of Minister of Economic  Affairs, Dr. David Estwick, said work was ongoing to develop the Building Act – the legislative framework that supported the National Building Code. She further explained that the Act would pave the way for the creation of the Barbados Building Standards Authority.

Ms. Drakes made these observations while addressing the Barbados National Standards Institution’s (BNSI), CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), National Technical Sub-Committee launch at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church, last Wednesday.

In outlining the benefits of the Building Act, she said it makes provision for the registration of building practitioners; building permit and completion certificate requirements; certificate of public use and assembly requirements and self-certification of design. The Government official also said that the Act also includes stipulations for access to buildings and lands; application fees for building permits; insurance requirements and projects requiring an input from a review consultant.

Ms. Drakes said that new developments in construction technology, along with a better understanding of the impact of natural disasters on the Caribbean landscape, have heightened the need to revise the Caribbean Uniform Building Code (CUBiC). CUBiC was with established assistance from the CARICOM Community Secretariat and was published in 1986.

She pointed out that CUBiC had been under-utilised by builders, and as a result, a new Regional Building Standard (RBS) was developed to fill the gap. “The project is timely, and supports the Government’s commitment to ensuring that Barbadians from all strata of society, have access to safe, decent and affordable housing,” Ms. Drakes said.

The Government official noted that the RBS would contain provisions such as a revised set of harmonised regional technical standards from which member states could develop their national codes.  It will also allow for greater uniformity in the standard of building designs across the region and to provide safer and more appropriate design standards which will contribute to a reduction in the risk and attendant loss of life and property, she added.

The RBS would also allow for the free movement of contractors to undertake work in different member states and the development of a hazard mapping system to assist in the design of buildings.

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