Prime Minister issues challenge

Barbados’ current and future building stock must be made more resilient to hurricanes, storm surges and other disasters.

And to achieve this, Prime Minister Mia Mottley yesterday challenged building professionals including architects, engineers and contractors to not only design such, especially for low income earners, but to add their input into what should govern the process.

Addressing the National Consultation on Building for Disaster Resilience at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, she said, “We have taken lightly these things, which can undermine our stability and our competitiveness for too long and I am signalling with this consultation this morning this government’s intention to have a strategic intervention to change how we have been building for the last 55 years and to bring us to a point where we control our environment by building not just for the climate, but also for the times in which we live with respect to sustainable living, renewable energy and potable water.”

Pointing to the devastating impact hurricanes have had on several Caribbean island states in recent times, she stressed it was cheaper to build resilient buildings from the start than to be forced to rebuild after events ravage areas and disrupt lives.

“The Ministry of Housing will be putting our requests for proposals for house designs for low income housing and lower middle income to begin to influence what will become the new norm and the new standard for this country. It has to be a design that is resilient in every aspect, not just the roofs but as I said in the budget this year, every house ought to have a water tank and we need to revisit the regulations that would have required for houses over a certain size to have non-potable water tank which may well unwittingly contributed to aspects of public health difficulties because of the way in which we haven’t integrated it properly in the design of the house.

“Similarly, we have to build houses that are sustainable in respect to energy and how best we can treat to renewable energy given the country’s stated goal of being fossil fuel free by 2030,” she added.

She said that while new designs were needed for new buildings going forward, there was also the need to strengthen existing structures.
Mottley therefore urged the large gathering to “treat this as a matter of national priority”.

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