Barbados will not be found resting on its laurels in the event a hurricane or natural disaster threatens this island.
This was made clear this morning when a joint consultation between the Ministries of Housing, Lands and Rural Development and Transport, Works and Maintenance was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on the topic: Building for Disaster Resilience.
The consultation which was held under the theme: Be Prepared Before the High Winds Come, was held against the backdrop that every year, Barbados and the other Caribbean islands were susceptible to severe weather, especially during the Atlantic hurricane season.
Prime Minister Amor Mottley, who was present at the half-day event, stated: “One of the things that we want to do is to strengthen the existing housing stock, recognizing that everybody obviously cannot go and build new houses. And, therefore, as we put a new standard for new buildings, we have to have an approach for the existing houses that we have, if not we’re not going to succeed.”
She stressed that consensus would be key moving forward.
“What I need is for us to agree on some of the basic minimum standards, either in terms of cost, in terms of space, in terms of building standards. …. My role here is to get you to come out of the temple of your familiar and to start to think differently rather than to assume that ‘we were doing it this way for years so we can continue to do it this way’.”
The meeting brought together engineers, architects, draughtsmen, contractors and other technocrats to discuss the current building situation in Barbados and create new building design recommendations across low and middle-income households, given that there are currently no specific recommendations for building designs for these households.
At the end of the meeting, 21 persons from across the public and private sectors volunteered to sit on a joint committee which would outline the criteria Government should take into consideration for future housing designs.