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Building code one of the most ‘structurally sound and robust’ in region, says Sands

  • A home destroyed on Ragged Island following the passage of Hurricane Irma. Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has asked Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister to fully review The Bahamas’ building code. FILE

Guardian Business Reporter

Published: Sep 18, 2017

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President of the Bahamian Contractors’ Association (BCA) Leonard Sands asserted that The Bahamas’ building code is one of the most “structurally sound and robust” codes in the Caribbean.

His comments came after Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis asked Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister to fully review The Bahamas’ building code, lamenting that many homes as well as government buildings have not been built to code.

Minnis, in the wake of widespread destruction by Hurricane Irma in the southern Bahamas, has decided to tighten the country’s building code if need be, in order to ensure buildings will be able to withstand the destructive forces of Category 5 hurricanes.

Speaking with Guardian Business recently, Sands insisted that the country’s building code is “rigid” and also set the standard for construction in other countries.

“It is no secret that after Hurricane Andrew, what happened in Miami-Dade County and other counties in Florida is they looked at The Bahamas’ building code and adopted much of their residential and commercial wind load impact on what we already had in place,” he said.

However, Sands did acknowledge that the building code has room for improvement.

“The way that it could be improved is in the dynamics of how we use planning to direct not only our homeowners, but persons who have buildings,” he explained.

“For what is going to be built, I have full confidence in the structure and integrity of The Bahamas’ building code, and engineers in this country (local/foreign) would agree we have a very fine building code to withstand hurricanes.

“I think, rather, the challenge we have is… how well thought-out the approach is to properly police and enforce the building code standards.

“You have to imagine, we are a centralized country; all of our resources really are in New Providence.

“It is almost impossible, without an army of inspectors or a regimented strict program, to ensure that every structure that is built adheres to this robust and firm building code.”

Sands agreed that Family Islands “absolutely” do not get as much attention as New Providence or Grand Bahama in terms of inspecting adherence to the building code.

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