Top engineer calls for robust enforcement of building code

Top engineer calls for robust enforcement of building code
Hurricane Dorian damage in Hope Town, Elbow Cay

NASSAU, BAHAMAS- A leading engineer has warned that ‘robust’ enforcement of the building code in necessary in the post-Dorian reconstruction.

In an interview with Eyewitness News Online, Quentin Knowles, the Bahamas Society of Engineers (BSE) president warned: “We don’t want to end back up at square one”.

Knowles said a ‘robust enforcement” regime of the co

BSE president Quentin Knowles

untry’s building code must be implemented to mitigate the problems highlighted by Hurricane Dorian.


He said while amendments to the country’s building code may come at some point in the future, code enforcement is the bigger issue.

“I know there is a move to amend the building code at some point,” Knowles said.

“Due to the hurricane there was great talk about amending the building codes but if you speak to construction professionals, contractors, architects and engineers, with the exception of a few changes here and there to modernize the code, from a structural standpoint there is not a lot that needs to happen.

“If you talk to most people in the industry and those involved assessment you find most of the damage was caused by flooding,” said Knowles.

“Enforcement of the code is the big issue. Finding the best way to get the current building code enforced, particularly in the family island is the challenge. If we have challenges in Nassau one could only imagine what the issues are in the family islands where they have to rely on different types of people to ensure code enforcement.

He continued: “There are far too many structures not built in compliance with the code. Due to the fact that reconstruction is going to get underway very soon we have to have something robust in place to ensure that when people start building they do it right or we will be right back at square one.

“We have to be in a situation where we are building back better. For instance, for areas that may be flood prone we have to enforce some type of elevation requirement.”

A recent Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report noted that hurricane Dorian left almost 3,000 homes uninhabitable and 7,339 severely damaged.

The report estimated that the storm had a $1.487 billion impact on the housing sector in Abaco and Grand Bahama.