November 15, 2017 – Basseterre; St. Kitts: Public and private sector stakeholders in St. Kitts met on Monday 13th November 2017 to discuss and develop Best Practice Recommendations for implementing the Revised OECS Building Code 2015.
Mr. Randolph Edmeade, Director of Physical Planning, stated that the purpose of the consultation was to undertake a review of the Revised OECS Building Code. He said that the activity was timely against the backdrop of the two devastating hurricanes (Irma and Maria) that visited the region.
“The degree of impact in many cases has a direct correlation to the structures and the extent to which there was adherence to the building regulations or guidelines,” said Edmeade. “It is hoped that coming out of this consultation, countries of the OECS would have a building code that would be able to stand up to the vagaries of hurricanes in terms of the increase in their strength and intensity,” he added.
Workshop facilitator and consultant Ms Alison King, underscored the need for practitioners in the construction sector to adhere to a uniform building code in order to build resilience in the OECS sub-region.
“The Revised OECS Building Code 2015 has already been adopted by OECS countries whether formally through legislation or informally. However, compliance by both practitioners and professionals varies as the level of enforcement by regulatory authorities. Therefore, if we can improve compliance with an appropriate Code, we can find ourselves having a built environment that is more resilient in the face of disasters such as those which we recently experienced in the region,” said Ms King.
She also stated that The OECS has decided to look at developing unique administrative sections for each country.
“While the technical provisions of the Code were to be adopted across the region, it was felt that the administrative section of the Code ought to reflect the actual conditions in each country,” said Ms King.
The Consultation reviewed proposals for amending national regulations to facilitate implementation of preferred best practice, a draft action plan to facilitate implementation, and a draft public awareness and communication strategy.
According to Aldrin Thomas, the local focal point for the project, the consultation was a tremendous success judging from the level of participation of the major stakeholders and the high degree of interaction during the discussion. He said that the objectives of the consultation were achieved.
Stakeholders attending the consultation included representatives from the Water Services Department, Public Works Department, NEMA, Development and Control Planning Board, BOA/SKNIA, SKELEC, St. Kitts-Nevis Institute of Architects, and the Department of Environment.
The Review is being undertaking by the OECS Commission in collaboration with the European Union and the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA).