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Building codes to be revised

Building codes to be revised

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With the advent of the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME), standards and quality controls pertaining to all sectors across the region need to achieve uniformity. The construction sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines had its turn at this when concerned agencies and representatives convened to discuss the revision of Caricom Building Codes on Monday, July 14.{{more}}

Hosted by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bureau of Standards (SVGBS), the seminar was presented in collaboration with the Caricom Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ). CROSQ is a Caricom-funded organization established to harmonise standards and quality requirements across the region, in light of CSME and other free trade ventures.

The current building codes revision project is expected to produce applicable standards, which will be adopted across the region. Tuesday’s seminar was the first leg of the sensitization process, which is aimed at stakeholders and enlightening them of their roles and responsibilities.

CROSQ Project Manager Jonathan Platt spoke of the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters and hazards such as hurricanes, flooding and earthquakes. He conveyed that the project would cover this issue and assess whether it was possible to lessen the effects of these natural disasters/hazards. Platt acknowledged that a lot of the resulting damage and financial loss incurred could be attributed to “…poor building design, poor construction materials or even the position of our housing and infrastructure.” He stated that those involved in the construction sector need to “…be proactive in producing regional building standards” because it ensures safer and more efficient design.

Platt further reminded his audience that building standards go beyond natural hazards and disasters, and also cover aspects such as fires and disabled access to homes, offices and other buildings.

Despite the current usage of American building codes, the Project Manager was adamant that as a region we should be using codes that are specific to our circumstances and location.

In his remarks, Chairperson of National Standards Council Philmore Isaacs encouraged all involved to “…work efficiently” so that procedures can be undertaken in a timely fashion, and, ultimately, help to keep costs at a reasonable level. Isaacs called upon those in positions of service to do their jobs “…impartially” because services should be performed objectively. “If it’s going to be objective there must be standards, rules and procedures… known and stated!” he emphasized. Additionally, he acknowledged that institutions, too often, have a habit of hindering progress instead of fulfilling their roles as facilitators. “We are agencies that are meant to enhance the product or the services of the people,” he reminded.

Director of SVGBS Ezra Ledger also delivered remarks. He assured those present that their contributions would be taken seriously, and a local sub-committee would be drafted to help coordinate all input from SVG. Ledger further stated: “The Bureau of Standards endorses this project and is committed to the project’s objective.” (JSV)

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