Fears reconstruction efforts could face ‘stranglehold’
NASSAU, BAHAMAS- A newly formed alliance of Bahamian architects, contractors and engineers is proposing a ‘fast-track’ licensing and inspection process for construction in the wake of Hurricane Dorian’s devastation.
The proposal comes amid concerns the reconstruction effort could face a ‘stranglehold’ due to government agencies being ‘overwhelmed’.
Quentin Knowles, the Bahamas Society of Engineers (BSE) president told Eyewitness News that a ‘fast-track’ process for new construction was among several suggestions being put forth by the newly formed ‘ACE’ alliance comprised of the Bahamas Institute of Bahamian Architects, the Bahamas Contractors Association and the Bahamas Society of Engineers.
“We are proposing that we find a way of implementing a fast-track licensing and inspection process so that we can get this reconstruction going. If we are going to rely on the Ministry of Works and building control to review plans etc we are going to have a stranglehold on this reconstruction effort,” said Knowles.
“We have shared goals. We have had several meetings and I think that we are in alignment on many initiatives which we think will substantially aid the reconstruction effort. We have a significant amount of resources and knowledge that we feel can aid the government entities.
Knowles said: “We have over 140 licensed architects and well over 150 licensed engineers. The government has to find creative ways to involve us. Building control is overwhelmed during normal circumstances and I can only imagine what they are facing now with thousands of buildings impacted.”
Works Director Melanie Roach recently revealed that 22 per cent of the 446 residential buildings assessed in Spring City and Central Pines Abaco are non-salvageable or destroyed.
“We found that 22 per cent of the residential buildings in Spring City and Central Pines are non-salvageable or destroyed, ” she said.
“Twenty-nine per cent have major damage, 19 per cent have medium damage and 29 per cent have minimal damage. On Grand Bahama, officials have completed 1,143 residential building assessments, 71 commercial building assessments, 12 assessments of mixed use buildings and 51 government building assessments.
“What they have found so far is that in Grand Bahama 16 per cent of the buildings that have been assessed are not salvageable or have been completely destroyed. Another 16 per cent have had major damage, 18 per cent have medium damage and 50 per cent have minimum damage,” Roach said.