Government considering revising building code

Minister of the Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira said yesterday the government is considering a revision of its building code in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

“Hurricane events like Dorian are going to continue to be more frequent and get more stronger,” Ferreira said.

“Therefore, as a part of the adjustment, the adaption [sic], adaptation for resilience, we have to look at the building codes; otherwise, we’ll be doing this in [repeated] function over and over again.

“That means, then, that the building codes have to be revisited. Houses have to be designed in such a way to withstand stronger winds.”

Dorian wiped out many parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama earlier this month.

It had sustained winds of 185 miles per hour (mph) and gusts of 200 mph when it made landfall on Abaco on September 1.

Ferreira noted that Bahamian houses must now be built to withstand “gusts of 200 mph winds”.

“This is going to become commonplace, unfortunately, as we move forward,” he said.

Asked what kind of changes could be made to the code, the minister said, “In real terms, that would mean steel. The grade of steel and the type of steel depending on the structure of the building, the richness of the concrete depending on the type of structure, the depth of the foundation…

“…How far above mean sea level do we actually build the foundation to prevent flooding?” 

Last week, Marcus Laing, a licensed architect and partner at TDG Architects, said there would’ve been far less destruction to homes and buildings during storms like Dorian if The Bahamas enforced its building code.

Following the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis charged Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister with fortifying the country’s building code.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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