Building codes were not followed, minister says

Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis said yesterday that there were many building code infractions on Abaco and Grand Bahama which contributed to the extensive damage experienced on those islands during Hurricane Dorian.

“There were a lot of code infractions,” he told reporters outside Cabinet.

“So, we have to fortify our code and we also must ensure that the code is enforced. So, fortification and enforcement is necessary because the code was designed, not to make pretty buildings, not to make large buildings, but to make safe buildings so that we can preserve lives.”

Lewis said the Ministry of Works has faced challenges in ensuring that structures are up to code. In particular, he highlighted a lack of vehicles on New Providence, but said the issue has been rectified. Lewis said the ministry will have to rely on the private sector to help with ensuring codes are met.

 Lewis said that having seen both islands, he believes the damage is in the billions of dollars.

“I do believe that we are in the billions,” he said.

“It’s a whole lot. When we look at the infrastructure, we look at the residential damage and other structures.

“In High Rock (Grand Bahama), I passed through there the other day and we have to construct a new seawall, new roadway in East Grand Bahama. In Marsh Harbour, past the ferry dock, there is a portion of the road that was washed out. So, when you look at the overall assessment on the mainland Abaco, in the cays, on mainland Grand Bahama, I believe it’s going to be extremely high. 

“One of the difficulties that we’re having in terms of projecting numbers right now, even in respect to our rubbish, we made an early projection of 1.5 [billion pounds]…however, that was rubbish that was on the ground.

“When we do our assessments now, in terms of distressed buildings, buildings that need to be demolished, that is going to go up. So, we are getting information as we go along.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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