The government will bring draft policy to the construction sector next year that will allow for qualified engineers to assist the Ministry of Works (MOW) in its building inspection processes, freeing up full-time MOW employees to carry on with the process of vetting documents for approval, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said yesterday.
Bannister, who spoke at the Bahamas Engineers Architects and Allied Professionals’ (BEAAP) stakeholders forum at the British Colonial Hilton, said these third-party inspections will mean economic opportunities for qualified engineers and will also “ease the burden of the Building Control Division”.
“The draft third-party policy will be brought for review early next year,” Bannister said.
“It can only be successful if you take it very seriously. Your involvement in that process is critical.”
Bannister explained that the MOW is rolling out several processes designed to improve the time it takes for his ministry to vet and approve construction plans. He said he is well-aware of the concerns of the industry, because many of the complaints about MOW come directly to his desk.
He said an electronic platform, which has already gone out to tender, should also positively impact document processing times at the MOW.
“You are concerned about any delays that you face,” Bannister said. “Those inconveniences will be changed.”
The electronic platform, according to Director of MOW Melanie Roach, will allow multiple departments to review plans simultaneously, as they will be submitted electronically and received by each department as a result.
Bannister said the MOW has to become more sophisticated in its operations in order to efficiently meet the needs of bodies like BEAAP.
He added that his ministry will create more transparency in its processes in order to “benefit you, your clients and the foreign direct investor”.
Chair of the Professional Engineers Board Adrian Rollins, who was a panelist at the BEAAP forum, lamented the time it takes for plans to be approved by MOW and criticized the lack of staff available to review documents.