July 20, 2017 – Basseterre; St. Kitts: Local contractors and engineers in St. Kitts-Nevis have expressed high praise for the ongoing Revised OECS Building Code project which seeks to increase resilience of the built environment and adequately mitigate risks to natural hazards.
Veteran construction engineer Peter Jenkins of Jenkins Limited is of the view that the Revised OECS Building Code is critically important to the built environment of St. Kitts-Nevis and the OECS sub-region in terms of the regulation of building standards.
“Having practiced in the construction/engineering sector since 1980, I can say with some degree of certainty that it is important that the built environment in St. Kitts and Nevis, the OECS, and the Caribbean be regulated. This is important from a development standpoint. Persons who are bringing development to the region must be able to be confident that there are a set of standards to which the sector is regulated, so that there are standards for all aspects of design, all aspects of construction, all aspects of maintenance. We hear, very often, of incidents all over the world where there are collapses, during construction, after construction, and these are in developed sectors of the world. We hear of collapses in China, in the United States, in Canada, all over the world. And so we have to give the assurance that the standards to which we construct are of such that we can basically guarantee some degree of safety, said Jenkins”
Jenkins stated that the revision process will create stakeholder buy-in and give assurance of the quality of the building process in the OECS.
“The Code, as a uniform building code of the OECS, is critical. It gives more status and weight to the integrity of the process that we went through to determine the Code itself. And so, it is important that we continue this process towards the point where we actually have a revised code that all of us would be stakeholders to, would have bought into the process and agreed upon the final document so that the population of the OECS and those coming in can be assured of the quality of the building process in the region,” Jenkins added.
Jenkins also spoke to the importance of the Revised OECS Building Code to the region in light of increased threats from climate change.
“We have to look at flooding. All of these things are critical and will be addressed in the Code and it is important that we get it right so that we can provide some degree of protection to developers. Persons will be occupying such buildings in the future and so this is very important. Climate change has brought additional emphasis and impetus to us in terms of getting this document prepared,” said Jenkins.