An interesting post by fellow blogger and Engineer Grenville Phillips. Barbadians must view the single largest investment they are likely to make seriously.
Originally posted on Weighed in the Balance:
The process of building a house for most people in Barbados follows these steps.
1. The homeowner contacts a draughts-person or architect who prepares drawings and an application for Town Planning approval.
2. The homeowner presents these drawings to a building contractor who provides them with a price, which if accepted, builds what is on the drawings.
3. The homeowner occupies the house and is frustrated with the numerous and avoidable maintenance issues.
Most homeowners believe that the drawings approved by the Town Planning office contain sufficient information to allow their builder to build a safe and durable house. This is not so. The drawings approved by Town Planning contain no guidance to the contractor to build safely. Worse, most builders do not know how to build safely, and most if not all homeowners are oblivious to the fact that most of them occupy houses that will be…
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Structural Engineer Grenville Phillips II
Structural Engineer Grenville Phillips II has initiated a new strategy to reduce the vulnerability of houses to natural hazards. He has developed a course and hopes to train construction foremen – eventually awarding them with a College diploma with the support of Walbrent College.
Courses are scheduled to be held after normal construction working hours, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm. The next course is scheduled to start on Tuesday, 1st February 2011. Please contact Walbrent College at e-mail: Admin@Walbrent.com for registration information. You can also get further details at www.Walbrent.com.
Read out this proactive initiative on Grenville’s blog Weighed in the Balance.
Submitted by The Scout
The experience of Tropical Storm TOMAS which passed Barbados a few days ago should jolt the government into seriously implementing the building code. It appears that too many shortcuts are being taken to construct buildings in recent years. The situation was getting bad for a while but with the boom in construction a few years ago, many persons became builders ignorant of the fundamentals of construction. Ask many of our builders/contractors of today the width of the footings for a single storey house as against a two storey or multi-storey building, most of them would be out to sea.
You dare not ask them what PSI is used in the concrete for the said buildings. The amount of reinforcement steel to be used is usually a hit or miss situation, also the width of concrete blocks used. Many times 6″ wide blocks are used on two storey houses, also the inadequate amount of reinforcement steel, all in an effort to reduce the building cost.
The mixture of the mortar is usually done in an unprofessional manner, with water constantly being added to soften the mixture if the cement starts to set. Roofs are too often constructed with the wrong size timber and then not connected in a professional way to the beam of the building, hence many roofs are removed when under moderate to strong wind pressure.
The Integrity Legislation (draft) promised by the Democratic Labour Party government is listed on the Barbados Parliament website to be debated soon. It is a 157 page document, look forward to feedback from the BU family.
See link to Prevention of Corruption Bill 2010
Submitted by The Scout
Professor Avinash D. Persaud
Over the last few weeks the talk about restarting the Four Seasons Project has been in the news. According to Professor Avinash Persaud, the man leading the project, it may start towards the end of this year. The big question is this – will the previous workers be given first option to work or will Bajans be favoured?
We all know that a large contingent of Chinese workers plus a fairly large amount of regional workers were the ones employed on the project. It was also rumoured that many competent Bajans were refused work on that project. The reason for the influx of non-Barbadian workers at that time was that there was a construction boom and “outside” help was needed. Right now things are tight and many Bajan artisans are just “picking ” a day or two per week to try and keep their families with food on the table.
Submitted by Looking Glass
That Pickering might not be starting soon because NRDC is unable to attract investors to raise the $1.7bn needed (Arthur: Nation August, 1, 2010) is untrue. The amount cited is loose change for the real owners of NRDC. The reason(s) for seeking an investor, which is not at all unusual, is beyond the comprehension of the economist. Involvement with companies like Cellate is nothing new. Look back at similar projects you facilitated in the last decade or so. Is the pot calling the kettle black? And what about the hospital in St Peter that was sold some years ago (I believe in 2005). Check out how many blacks are on staff and the last time a Blackie was treated there.
First let it be understood that I am not opposed to foreign investment per se, but against projects not in the better interest of the country. Lands at Long Beach, St. George and Brighton acquired by Americans to build homes for Americans and other foreigners can hardly be said to constitute sustainable development. Our most famous soul, recognized by Her Majesty, was denied access to the American owned golf course and nothing was done about it. It is foolish to believe that nig-nig will have access to the homes and or the surroundings.
The Pickering plan did not come off the drawing board overnight. It is a minor version of a massive Ontario project– 450 room hotel, 5000 seat performance venue, movie theatre, residential, office retail centre etc– schedule to begin later this year and be completed in five years which is four years sooner than Pickering.
Submitted by Douglas Phillips
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur
Mr. Owen Arthur, the Prime Minister of Barbados from 1994 until 2008, in his recent speeches has made comment on the present use by government of large contracting firms rather than the small man. At first thought it appears that Mr. Arthur is attempting to get easy political mileage at the expense of the present administration, but he went on to mention the name Mr. Mohammed Nassar and you realise that even Mr. Arthur would know that there is a limit to the number of times one man should be bailed out by the same economy.
Clearly the name he should have called was Mr. Barrack which experience we are sure Mr. Arthur would like to forget. It was Mr. Arthur’s administration which contracted with Mr. Barrack that has left the present administration with the fiasco which has been publicized so well. In retrospect Mr. Arthur’s regime in an effort to avoid more experiences like the Barrack one, started contracting with large contractors to build Sapphire Beach condominiums, that construction was completed last month at a a cost which was 1½% over the cost estimated when the contract was signed. The new Supreme Court complex and many others. Appointing large contractors was clearly a step in the right direction when you compare some of the other projects which the present administration inherited like the ABC Highway among many others.
The British media unlike that in Barbados recently reported on the legal troubles the British company Mabey & Johnson is currently enduring. The BU family should remember that Janathan Danos was a former executive at Mabey & Johnson who subsequently left to form the company 3S Barbados to facilitate the ABC Highway Project (search BU for the many blogs posted on the murky project). Although Mabey & Johnson failed to win the road widening ABC Highway job, Danos was lucky to setup a five man company months before the previous government issued a multi-million contract to 3S Barbados using a rolling MOU which continues to be a hotly debated matter.
What is it the British media has printed about Danos’ former employer?
On July 2009 the Times Online reported that Mabey & Johnson a leading UK bridge-building company appeared in court today to say it will plead guilty to charges of overseas corruption and breaching United Nations sanctions. Mabey is charged with offences relating to activities in Jamaica and Ghana between 1993 and 2001.
Submitted by BU’s ABC Source
First let me clarify a simple point. The structures now being called flyovers are more correctly termed overpass bridges.
The analysis carried out by 3S and presented to Government (both administrations) used the Norman Niles roundabout as the test junction. The analysis showed that the “flyover” solution would have alleviated the congestion along the highway. It did however show that even with the “flyovers” gridlock would still exist in the east-west, that is, into Bridgetown. The analysis had some errors that should be pointed out. These are (1) the analysis did not take into consideration that the traffic crossing any one roundabout in the north-south direction traversed several roundabouts while almost all the traffic in the east-west direction crossed only one roundabout. This tended to give a much higher count and therefore weight to the north-south traffic. (2) the economic analysis that showed the flyover solution to be cost effective assumed a similar economic value to traffic in all directions. We all know that delays to traffic into Bridgetown on mornings have a significantly greater economic impact than traffic in any other direction. (3) at the time the analysis was done the stated cost of the flyovers was considerably less than August 2007 when a revised cost was given. This could have had a considerable impact on the cost-benefit analysis.
Bloggers around the world are being asked to take action to combat the poverty and hunger affecting more than 500 million people worldwide and responsible for the deaths of over 15 million children each year through a campaign Blogger Unite For Hunger and Hope. BU although concerned about people everywhere the campaign (blogging) has served to bring to the fore again the little regard Barbadians have for agriculture and by extension food security.
BU commenter Nostradamus reminded us recently that there is an application in Town Planning to change 136 acres of agricultural land, representing 30% of Staple Grove Plantation, from agricultural to residential… there will be a Consultation at the Meeting Hall of St. David’s Anglican Church on Monday April 27, 2009 at 6:00pm. The meeting will allow for comment and discussion on the proposed plans for the subdivision of lands at St. David’s Village, Ch. Ch and Staple grove Ch. Ch. Into lots for residential purposes.
The government led by Minister Michael Lashley has been on a quest to generate housing solutions to deliver on a Democratic Labour Party campaign promise. The government led by Minister Haynesley Benn has also been on a quest to move agriculture back to the centre of our economy. The two Ministers maybe on a collision course given all that has happened during the previous government when there were many accusations levelled that prime agricultural land was being sub-divided willy-nilly for residential and other purposes.
In light of the above BU’s interest was peeked when commenter Nostradamus made his intervention. Luckily we were able to persuade a BU family member to attend the Consultation on the sub-division of lands at Staple Grove, St. Davids for residential purposes and report back her findings.