Armstrong speaks on resilience

Delivering remarks at the National Consultation on Building for Disaster Resilience at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Civil Engineer with the Rural Development Commission (RDC), Russell Armstrong, said legislative alterations must be made to build resilient homes.

Speaking on the traditional belief that only wooden homes should be built on land that was being rented, he suggested it was time to move away from this practice.

“If a person can afford to build a wall structure on rented land, then that persons should be allowed to do so. If we are to build these wooden homes to the standard that we have to, the cost gets up there and why are we building something at the same cost that is less resilient than another? Is it classes? Is it legislation? We have to ask these questions, but I would hope that as we move forward, my clients are not held to any classes or less than quality standards that we can put ourselves forward,” he added.

He sought to allay fears by stating that carpenters would not be out of work as roofs, cupboards and doors would still be needed.

Armstrong opined, “I am hoping that we can set some achievable measurable targets, so that as a government we could say in the next three years, we want to see 70 per cent of the the structures in Barbados built out of concrete. It is measurable and it is achievable... Therefore, we need to offer $20 million dollars in concessions when it comes to concrete blocks and these kind of things to allow it to become more achievable and affordable, which I think at the end of the day, cost is at the root basis of all of this discussion.”

Touching on the insurance aspect of such homes, Armstrong said, “At Rural Development Commission you put persons in a home, but you know that persons cannot realistically afford to insure that home for $1 100-$1 200 a year.

“We carry the burden and insure these houses because at the end of the day, it is the insurance that is going to bail us out. So if we have any significant impact in the near future, the insurance is what is going to cover us in terms of the funds to rebuild,” he stated.

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