Blueprints for low-cost hurricane-resistant houses are to be made available to the public as part of the Prime Minister’s push to make the nation’s housing stock ready for the 2020 hurricane season, as the clock ticks down on this season.
The blueprints are part of a wider plan that includes mandatory building code, Mia Mottley told a national consultation on building for disaster resilience.
She reminded the country that while some people might be tempted to begin to breathe a little easier at the thought that there are only 60 days remaining in the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, the next hurricane season is only nine months away.
She said: “We have come here today to start the process because we do not have the luxury of time.
“In this particular instance we have 60 days left in the season but the bad news is that we are nine months from the start of the new season,” as she gave the keynote speech at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning.
Today’s meeting was part of the plan announced by Mottley earlier this month to implement mandatory building codes, as Barbados seeks to upgrade its housing stock in the advent of stronger hurricanes impacting the region.
Mottley explained at the time that it was imperative that Barbadians get back to the tried and tested building methods suited to adverse weather conditions, such as gabled roofs.
Apart from the legislation, the Government is planning to make the technical know-how readily available, while negotiating with lending institutions to fast-track funds for this initiative.
She also promised to have designs available to the public for stronger and affordable houses.
The Prime Minister declared: “What we are hoping to do is to work with the architects and engineers.
“Almost every wooden house in Barbados looks like the next because Barbadians have used a few house designs as a model.
“They have been trained to it, masons and carpenters know how to build that model, and in some instances, they close their eyes and do it.”
This morning, Mottley signalled the start of that process, noting that her Government was aiming to have these things in place before the start of the 2020 hurricane season.
She said: “The Ministry of Housing will be putting out a request for proposals – and I hope that they have it done by the end of the week – for house designs for low-income housing, to begin to influence what can become the norm for building standard in this country.
“It has to be a design that is resilient in every aspect, not just the roofs but also that they must have water tanks and must be sustainable as it relates to energy.”
She declared it was “cheaper to pay for the hurricane before it hits rather than after”.