While President of the Bahamas Contractors Association (BCA) Michael Pratt called the prime minister’s proposed trust fund to help cover the costs of home rebuilding on areas impacted by Hurricane Dorian a good idea, he said now is the time for Bahamians to be innovative in how they go about rebuilding their lives.
“At the end of the day, homeowners, they would be happy for any assistance that they can get. There are some maybe who feel as if the government should replace their full home, but that’s not the society that we live in. We have to realize that there are insurances that should have been kept in place by some of these home owners and our dependency on the government at this time, I can understand the desperation, but the reality at this time is that we have to be innovative as a country right now and find ways to get back on our feet,” he said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“The dependency, this is my opinion, on the government is for very important areas, to make sure there is quality construction being done when you look at safety and standards, but we have to find ways now to be creative.”
Pratt said that’s why the ACE (architects, contractors and engineers) alliance was created.
“And that’s what we are trying to do through the ACE alliance by creating initiatives to assist the government at this time. I think if we can deputize professionals, let them go and assist these people, let them guide them through the reconstruction process, there are a lot of engineers, architects and contractors who are willing to do this even on a pro bono level. I think that’s what we need in our country right now,” he said.
One such “innovative” proposal the alliance has presented to government is to utilize retired contractors to help fast track the approval and inspection processes for building permits and licenses.
“We have had a number of meetings and we have also presented a proposal to the government on some of the innovative ideas we have and one of them, for example, we believe that we can assist in reducing the bottlenecks in the permitting and inspection process. We want to provide training to people on the ground primarily in Abaco and Grand Bahama,” he said.
“We also recognize that there are a lot of experienced contractors, semi-retired and retired contractors, who can assist as inspectors. So you imagine we have people on the ground now who have the experience of construction and architectural engineering who could step in to assist the government as inspectors, also as assessors for the building process.”