The upsurge in the construction industry within recent years has continued unabated and such activity could well be used as a gauge of the strength of the country’s overall economy.

That is the view of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Lands, Carson Browne. He made the remarks during the keynote address at the inaugural ‘Construction Fair’ hosted by the Small Business Association last evening at the Sherbourne Conference Centre.

He noted that “at the end of 2006, the construction sector realised an increase of 6% over the previous year; and in terms of the labour force, some 14, 500 people are employed in the industry.”            

In her address to the gathering, President of the Barbados Small Business Association, Senator Sandra Husbands, said the fair provided an excellent opportunity to showcase competencies and various skills in the industry. It “also allows sectoral groups to learn, improve and set higher standards for their performance.”

She observed that over the past few years, construction had come under a lot of pressure, “especially with the building boom in Barbados, and therefore the issues of cost have come under close scrutiny… In terms of the future, what I would love to see is the facilitation of an arbitration unit, because of contentious issues that arise from time to time between the builder and the potential home owner. If we are going to take some of that stress away and create equity and justice in the sector, then an arbitration unit is the way for us to go.”

The fair, staged under the theme ‘Beyond Bricks and Mortar’, showcased the work of 21 local small businesses and was also designed to bring together the industry partners in an effort to establish strategic alliances.

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