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Onus on owners, says engineer

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Onus on owners, says engineer

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A CHARTERED STRUCTURAL ENGINEER believes the onus is on businesses and homeowners to make sure their buildings are constructed according to the Barbados National Building Code.
Past president of the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers Grenville Phillips II made this recommendation last Wednesday during a disaster-preparedness seminar hosted by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Speaking at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, he said although the building code had been around for 18 years, it was not being enforced and much of the local building stock was therefore not structurally sound.
He stressed that the code was “a valid document” and was “sold for use, not for comment”.
Phillips suggested that anyone who intended to build a structure should purchase two copies of the document – one for themselves and one for the contractor.
Furthermore, he said the contract between builder and owner should require the builder to follow the Town and Country Planning Department-approved drawings according to the structural details of the building code.
He dismissed the suggestion that the code had to be made law.
“These are Barbados’ standards; we don’t need legislation,” he said, noting that although there was no legislation governing cement, people must comply with cement standards.
The engineer also said it was a “misconception” that it costs too much to construct a building “properly”.
Rather, he stressed that it costs the same to assemble materials badly as it costs to assemble according to minimum standards. (NB)