Code enforcement issues exist
NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The Bahamas Society of Engineers president says that while The Bahamas’ building code is ‘robust’ it should be updated ‘at least every three to five years’.
Quentin Knowles told Eyewitness News Online the country’s building code has not been updated since 2003.
“We have a robust building code,” Knowles said.
“It is very clear that with many of the structures destroyed there were some issues. Perhaps those buildings were not fully code complaint. We do have issues with enforcement, big issues. I think it is one primarily due to the lack of resources in the building control department.”
Mr Knowles continued: “It has been 16 years since our code has been updated. That code should have been updated at least every three to five years. We should have committees in place to take suggestions from the private sector, the public sector and building officials. There would be a technical committee to review the suggestions and go through the process of updating the code. Fortunately for us, although I don’t think people realize it, there is a process mandated by law to make that happen. That comes under the Bureau of Standards and quality and I sit on the technical committee.
“The code needs to be updated because there are many techniques to make building more efficient and utilize stronger materials. An analysis of Dorian may reveal that we have to make our code even more stringent when it comes to hurricane resistance.”
Acknowledging the tremendous devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian and the significant loss of lives, Knowles said the country should use the tragedy as a learning opportunity.
“This catastrophe is a huge learning opportunity and we must take advantage of it. We have to learn as much as we can,” Knowles added.
Works Minister Desmond Banister has previously said sufficient building inspectors must be hired to ensure all new buildings meet requisite standards; however, he stressed that ‘no building code’ would have provided protection against ‘superstorm’ Hurricane Dorian.