HLDC official promises report on collapsed house by weekend
“I can assure you that because of the seriousness of this incident, by next Friday, we will have a report that we can share with the public,â Charles told SEARCHLIGHT last Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after the three-bedroom house, owned by Dr Katisha Douglas, gave way.
Charles also gave the assurance that the HLDC and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) would be working closely with the homeowner to ensure that the mother of one would be comfortably accommodated, until a new home is allocated to her.
On Saturday afternoon, the NEMO oversaw a salvaging process of the damaged property, which allowed Douglas to recover as many items as possible, before the home in which she lived was entirely demolished.
Douglas has temporarily returned to her parents home at Sion Hill.
“Yesterday, when we heard that the house collapsed, each one of us felt very disappointed and hurt inside, but we were a bit elated after when we realized that the owner of the house was not in it.
“We came down immediately, we met with her, we consoled her, and we reassured her HLDC would be there for her in whatever way we can until we are able to construct a house for her again.â
Charles told SEARCHLIGHT that the incident was a “one-offâ occurrence, which he did not expect to take place again.
“We are looking at this as a lesson for all of us. It is part of the learning curve and in the future, when we are constructing houses, we are going to make all the necessary efforts to ensure that this does not happen again,â Charles said.
The general manager confirmed that reports had been made to HLDC about movements of the houses in the area in the past, but noted that after studies were conducted, the report suggested that many of the complaints were “not based on solid ground.â
He said that he believed proper building codes were adhered to in the construction of that house, as well as the others, and it was his own early speculations that the collapse was an act of nature.
“In fact, a couple persons may have had shaking, but you know we are human beings and if we live in the same area, all of us may want to repeat the same thing and say itâs a common thing throughout the whole neighbourhood.
“But otherwise we gave them the assurance that as soon when we start building 15 more houses just up yonder, we are going to use some of our human resources to help to address some of the needs of the persons who made their complaints.
“I want to believe that codes were adhered to, and I am confident we did. I have been at HLDC for just over one yearâ¦ when I joined the staff and I realized that the engineers are competent, they follow the rules, they try to build to specification, they sought help from experts, from the IADC, we realized that they had done everything within their power to construct a proper houseâ¦.
“Itâs very unfortunate for Dr Douglas this incident occurredâ¦ but we just want to reassure the public that we still have a very good programme,â Charles said.
When asked about the absence of drainage around some of the houses, HLDC chairman Beresford Phillips acknowledged that this was visibly lacking, and that it would be addressed in future construction.
“When this was picked up, it was a little bit too far gone to make the adjustments, but I think when we did the houses down there we catered for that.â
Also present at the scene of the collapse last SaturÂday were director of NEMO Howie Prince, chief engineer Brent Bailey and engineer in the Ministry of Works with responsibility for infraÂstructure Shaun Daniel. (JJ)