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The Ministry of Housing will be issuing a request for proposals (RFPs) for low and low middle-income housing designs within a few days.

This disclosure came today from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, as she addressed a National Consultation on Building for Disaster Resilience, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

It was hosted by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance and the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development.

Ms. Mottley told her audience that she hoped the RFPs would be issued before the end of the week.

She expressed optimism that new designs would be submitted by those in the construction industry so they could be assessed and recommendations would be given on how to strengthen existing roofs. 

“There has to be a design that is resilient in every aspect, not just the roofs….  We have to start some public housing shortly and we want to be able to test it out with what we receive and to modify as we go along, to make sure that those who need access to that common standard…will have access to it…,” she explained.

The Prime Minister said a disservice would be done to future citizens if a decisive intervention was not made to change some building habits.

She noted that in the past, a number of designs which looked “pretty” were imported without thought or analysis to our circumstances.

She told the gathering, which included engineers, architects and contractors: “We have taken lightly these things that can undermine our stability and competitiveness for too long. I am signalling with this consultation…the intention, therefore, of this Government to have a strategic interjection to change how we have been building for the past 55 years and to bring us to a point where we can control our environment by building, not just for the climate, but also for the times that we live in with respect to sustainable living, renewable energy and access to water.”

Ms. Mottley called on those leading the construction industry to pause at this stage and determine how best they could change the designs for low and lower middle-income housing.

She urged them, however, to “respect the Barbadian vernacular that we have inherited, that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but is also functional for the climate within which we live”.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said she hoped the Attorney General would be able to certify legislation before June 1 next year that would give Government a sustainable framework with teeth for the Building Standards Authority.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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