Dorian inspection: “Basic” building components did not meet code

Dorian inspection: “Basic” building components did not meet code
A home in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, left in ruin, nearly two moths after the passage of Hurricane Dorian. (Photo: Royston Jones Jr.)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Post Hurricane Dorian building inspections revealed that ‘basic’ building components did not meet the country’s building code, according to Building Control Officer in the Ministry of Works Craig Delancey.

Speaking at an Bahamas Society of Engineers (BSE) luncheon yesterday, Delancey said: “A few months ago a team of private architects engineers and contracts along with members of the building control division visited both Grand Bahama and Abaco to see the level of destruction.

“We tried to carry out some in depth inspections of some of the buildings damaged and what our inspections found was that many buildings damaged or completely destroy didn’t comply with the code.”

He added: “We know that on the family islands where some areas are more remote than others there was less enforcement. During our inspections we saw where basic building components were not meeting the code.

“That is one of the major items that we recognized and also a lot of the buildings destroyed  were old buildings were there was rotten, terminate infested wood, corroded anchor bolts and hurricane clips.”

Delancy said that structural defects were also uncovered during inspections.

“Code enforcement is a major item that we need to look at in the future going ahead. There are areas that can we can improve on in the building code,” he said.

He noted that going forward, there may be a determination on whether The Bahamas utilizes a prescriptive code which requires that each component is built to a certain standard or a performance code requires that the building as a whole performs to a certain standard.

Works Director Melanie Roach said: “There are a couple of things we are looking at to assist persons in their construction practices. Two main items we are looking at is hazard and flood mapping.

“We are trying to see how we can get that done. It is not a cheap exercise but we need to have that done for every inhabited island in The Bahamas. You need to know where you stand if a hurricane is headed your way. You need to know if your are in a relatively safe zone; if you haven’t built there whether you should build there and how you should build there.”

Roach noted that another issue is that of land use plans.

“That will be a critical footer going forward to give persons the information they need on where and how they build.”

She added that government infrastructure such as roads fared ‘pretty well’, with the most significant damage being suffered by commercial and residential buildings.”