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Building code ‘in place’

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Building code ‘in place’

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CHARTERED structural engineer Grenville Phillips II is disputing claims that the Barbados National Building Code is a draft.
Instead, he is adamant that professionals involved in building design and construction are duty-bound to follow the Barbados National Building Code of 1993.
Referring to last Friday’s Tudor Street fire in which six young women died, Phillips told the Midweek nation: “From 1993 the Barbados National Building Code was published for use by designers, by engineers and architects, by builders, contractors and artisans and by regulators.”
Those regulators include the Barbados Fire Service who, Phillips contended, “are actually named in the document as having authoritative jurisdiction in the fire section”.
According to the engineer, this is the largest section of the code and “gives very detailed instructions as to how to design and how to ensure that buildings are safe so that occupants are not harmed during fire”.
“So we had guidance on instructions for the past 18 years,” Phillips insisted.
This is why he strongly opposes Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall’s statement that “there is a draft but it hasn’t gone to Parliament”, as reported in the September 5 edition of the Sunday Sun.
A former president of the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers, Phillips told the MIDWEEK NATION: “The most voluminous section of the code is the fire safety section, which provides sufficient authority and information to the Barbados Fire Service to check the fire safety of existing buildings in Barbados in order to significantly reduce the risk of harm to occupants in a fire.”
In a blog posted on his website on Monday, Phillips maintained: “Just because successive administrations have not enforced the Building Code does not relieve designers, builders and regulators from their responsibilities of using it.”
He also wrote: “The terrorist attack that resulted in mass casualties in Barbados last Friday night is shocking . . . . If the Barbados Fire Service has neglected to ensure that buildings are safe for occupants, because of [its] mistaken belief that it is still in a draft form, then that is exacerbating.” (GC)