The cost implications that can come with the implementation of a new Building Code in the country is an area of major concern for stakeholders in the construction industry.
Representatives from various entities, including banks, insurance agencies, contractors, architects and engineers expressed their concerns at a recent meeting with officials of the Grenada Bureau of Standards (GDBS) at the National Cricket Stadium on the roll out of the new Building Code, which has been adopted from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY, Head of the Materials Laboratory of the Bureau, Shevon Slinger said, the document introduces several changes including a new size limit for the drafting of floor plans, and the recruiting of professionals at an additional cost.
“With the new Building Code it’s not business as usual. …there is now a regulation for the size for a draftsman producing floor plans (and) once you go over that limit an architect needs to be the one to approve it or actually do the design.” he said.
“It (the new Building Code) requires a lot more professionals and with those professionals there is a cost attached to it,” he added.
Slinger expressed concerns that due to the “probable additional cost, the incentive to actually adhere to it (the measures set out in the new building code) may decrease.”
However, he was optimistic that “going forward (and) with future consultations with the stakeholders, we may be able to work something out and see how best we can address the issue”.
“There are a lot of changes that need to be made (and) will be made in the future to be better suited for Grenada…it’s not something that can be implemented over night,” he remarked.
He added that “what you would find is (that there are) a lot of informal constructions happening and that is the issue that we are trying to solve. Slinger noted that participants at the consultation were also briefed on the services offered by the Bureau and its role in the implementation process.
The new Building Code, which was first introduced in July, was gazetted in August and is being implemented by the Physical Planning Unit of the Ministry of Public utilities in keeping with the Physical Planning Act of Grenada.
Another consultation was also held with block manufacturers at the GDBS conference room at Queen’s Park, St. George on a newly developed standard for the production of hollow concrete blocks.
The ‘GDS 6’is a specification for hollow concrete blocks, and falls in line with the OECS Building Code.
According to Slinger, who facilitated the one-day session, the GDS 6 is intended for use to “ensure that your blocks meet a particular standard so that when you are designing your building in keeping with the Building Code you don’t have to worry about your blocks.”
The GDS6 specifications for hollow concrete blocks, was recently developed by a GDBS Technical Committee, comprising a selected group of experts in the field.
Slinger said one of the hopeful outcomes is to get a general idea of whether “there are any changes that need to be made and how we update it (the standard).”