0 thoughts on “A Building Solution for Homeowners


  1. this is article provides valuable information for potential home buyers and property owners in avoiding the unecessary pitfalls usually found after the purchase of property and a very timely article with the hurricane season insight


  2. The amount of money government spends whenever we have little high wind would be drastically reduced if builders know what to do. Even without the “know-how” many buildres try cutting corners, while many “so-called” artisans are poor apprentices.


  3. What wanna talking ’bout now…?

    David you minding Grenville and going down that line again? Wanna mean that a man can’t decide what house he want to live in now? He must get a big up engineer to decide for him?

    Bushie will never understand this tendency for wanna folks to be so Interested in deciding on a citizen’s “welfare” for them.

    If Bushie wants to live in a coconut limb shack- who is Grenville to tell the Bushman that he needs to hire a structural engineer, an architect and a geologist to build a house…?

    Why wanna don’t MAKE Bushie eat healthy food too? High blood pressure costs the Government MUCH MORE money than fixing earthquake and storm damaged homes…

    LOOK PEOPLE!!!
    Human beings are meant to THINK for themselves and to then live by the consequences of their actions. If a fellow decides to build his house on the cheap and drink out the extra $, how is that different from a fellow who eat badly, dont exercise, and ends up on a dialysis machine?

    Grenville is right in that it makes sense to be proactive, but this rush to government regulations and laws is a lot of nonsense.
    Educate the people and let them make sensible decisions and live or die with the consequences….

    If wanna doubt the bushman ask Lowdown…. 🙂


    • @Bush Tea

      A defective housing stock will threaten the financial security of a country. It is the government who will have to be the deep pocket of last resort.


  4. Another Regulatory Body ..then there is registration fees…. followed by who we want in the club. Ok Bushie Onions got your back on this one…..I see this as just another way to decide who is going be getting what..and corralling others to get on the bandwagon or else. Its quickly permeating Barbados. I saw it just here D odder day with the realtors….all realtors can (soon must) list their property..and anybody …depending who is who can sell it …
    Don’t think some people ain’t already in -co….small man boi ..they wanna tak ya out….wid your own indulgence…of course


    • Reading Grenville’s piece one gets the impression that if a middleclasee Barbadian is willing to borrow 4 or 5 hundred thousand dollars to build a house they can take a little more time to ensure basic safety precautions are met.


  5. David | May 26, 2012 at 5:48 AM | e
    We can’t be serious about developing our country and the integrity of our housing stock is left to chance. Are we silly?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Not silly, just greedy.

    In the case of Arch Cot with the permissions in hand someone in the chain of medicrity could be said to have made a killing … maybe the whole chain of mediocrity contributed.

    Drawing something is easy if you have some examples of what is expected …. and half a brain.

    However, there is no guarantee it will make any technical sense if you have not got the training and experience in the other half to put it there in the first place.

    I really hope that the chain involved in the deaths of the Codrington family is called to account and the example sinks into the heads of those who would pass off mediocre substandard work for a dollar without a care in the world as to their responsibility to public safety.


  6. BT

    Human beings are meant to THINK for themselves and to then live by the consequences of their actions. If a fellow decides to build his house on the cheap and drink out the extra $, how is that different from a fellow who eat badly, dont exercise, and ends up on a dialysis machine?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    THINK for a moment and the difference will appear to you, …. particularly if you subscribe to the notion that we are our brothers’ keepers.


  7. This reminds me of George Bush ..Fear Campaign…..How long houses were being built in Barbados brother ? And how many Arch Cots we had?.Common sense was not so common in Arch Cot..you want to tell me if I ..while on an evening walk below..I saw a BIG GAPING hole under the house which I resided…I would not have called the engineer? OR GET OUT !


  8. There lies at the back of every creed something terrible and hard for which the worshiper may one day be required to suffer.
    E. M. Forster


  9. old onion bags | May 26, 2012 at 12:35 PM |
    This reminds me of George Bush ..Fear Campaign…..How long houses were being built in Barbados brother ? And how many Arch Cots we had?.Common sense was not so common in Arch Cot..you want to tell me if I ..while on an evening walk below..I saw a BIG GAPING hole under the house which I resided…I would not have called the engineer? OR GET OUT !
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Assuming I lived in the area … and assuming I went for evening walks …… and if I did …… that I walked below ……. and if I walked below ….. that I could see the gaping hole through the vegetation …. you are too assuming.

    Go take a walk in the area and see how easy it is to get below.

    Now, if there were houses below I would expect people to talk and communicate …. but take a look see what is below ….. 8-4 business, strictly in and out.

    Before that below was a garbage dump and before that a quarry and lime works.

    If you look carefully you will realise that we are building houses in areas that have never been built …. sounds kind of obvious …. where else could you build a house …… but it isn’t so obvious if you THINK and observe your surroundings.

    Take Apes Hill for instance ….. riddled with caves.

    Apart from the plantation yard, never been built. Like Arch Cot, also had a lime works ….. it is to do with the marl, a dead giveaway if you know what to look for.

    I bet the people with the dollars to build up there will have the cents to make sure they don’t end up in a hole!! …. atleast I hope so.


  10. If you build in the Scotland District, depending on location the building will be built so that it is sacrificial, unless you are lucky or know what you are doing.

    Take a look in Morgan Lewis Yard.

    The mill wall remains but the house ….. long gone.

    THINK!! … and observe.


  11. John
    You are not making a good case on Arch Cot with me. Anybody that knows the area (as I do) knows the big watless cave could be seen even from the road.But this is not my area…I just stumbled here by chance….good luck conniving others. Over OUT


  12. What is Grenville suggesting here? A very sensible suggestion. Homeowners should consult with a group which is certified to ensure basic building standards are met. The country has a vested interest in the integrity of the housing stock.


  13. Should a potential homeowner be debarred from acquiring his dream lil bungalow (being built by brothers and neighbor as is, most of the country owned ups were done)..because of HIGH FEES to be paid to an engineer who can’t find enuff work ? Govt has a Lands and Survey Dept….which has maps of faults and caves….so stop throwing the danger scare to nail ..your point. When last we hear of a house coming down like in other parts of the World,,in Bdos.? Common sense prevailing …you can find an experienced contractor…..not really attacking Grenville ..but i think ..we been sold a Fear Factor story here ..to act on a sword that may come back to hurt some brothers.


  14. Grenville more than most in Barbados is qualified on many fronts as far as this matter goes. If there is one person BU will be guided on this matter is one who has demonstrated by his words and action he cares and knows what he is talking about. The same can’t be said about many of our professionals. We always allow money considerations to guide decision making when it should on the basis of commonsense.


  15. Grenville more than most in Barbados is qualified on many fronts as far as this matter goes. If there is one person BU will be guided on this matter is one who has demonstrated by his words and actions he cares and knows what he is talking about. The same can’t be said about many other professionals.

    We always allow money considerations to guide decision making when it should be on the basis of commonsense.


  16. “We always allow money considerations to guide decision making when it should be on the basis of commonsense.”

    David we shy away from using some of these people because of the get rich quick professionals. Many have been badly burnt and are wary of these people. Another thing many are afraid to give a quote on how much the inspection will cost. There should be standardized fees BUT this is Barbados where Lawyers, Doctors etc can charge what they feel like.


    • @islandgal

      We can’t throwout a system designed to protect because we are too gutless to lock up people.

      Frankly to pay $500.00 to a certified person to ensure a 25 year mortgage is well spent makes sense.

      The issue of those professionals who rip is another issue.

      Hopefully Grenville will respond to issues of concern raised.


  17. oob

    When last we hear of a house coming down like in other parts of the World,,in Bdos.?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Shortly after Arch Cot a house in Ellerton lost its newly added kitchen.

    I don’t read the paper religiously but quite often I read of collapses, thankfully not of houses.

    I try to check out each one for similarities.

    Check this recent collapse, not a house but a well casing in a densely built up area – Spooners Hill.

    http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/danger-there/

    You would be surprised to know there are similarities to Arch Cot.


  18. Well my house is over 250 years old made of rubble stone with walls 18 inches thick with no steel and will probably go for another 150 years or more. Dem didn’t have all o dem fancy name peoples pon de job den. I am planning to get a structural engineer to come and give me some advice before I redo my roof.


  19. David

    I did not see that one at the time so did not check.

    Will look into it.

    Water ponding under the house is asking for trouble but there is also an area in Boscobelle I would be extremely leary of building any structure unless it is sacrificial and of lightweight material.

    That area in Boscobelle gives me the creeps everytime I pass and see the development given what I have read happened nearby in 1901. It is to the east of the playing field.

    Do you know exactly where Johnson Road is?


  20. Hi Everyone:
    Let me address some of the principal concerns raised in this discussion.

    1. If anyone wishes to live in a temporary structure, then I believe that they should be allowed to do so because they are fully aware of the risks. If a hurricane approaches, then they can seek shelter in a more robust building. After the hurricane, they can economically rebuild their temporary dwelling and get what they pay for.

    2. If someone wishes to live in a more permanent structure (the majority of us), then my concern is that this homeowner will not get what he/she pays for. They will likely receive a very expensive, and more elaborate temporary structure.

    3. No one is looking out for the homeowner to see that they get what they pay for. Not the banks, insurance companies, Town Planning office, contractors, no one. The banks compete to trap prospective homeowners in debts of up to 30 years. Insurance companies compete to give homeowners premiums with high excess amounts, contractors promise, but lack the knowledge to build a safe and durable house, Town Planning appears disinterested in the quality of residential construction.

    4. The most effective and economical solution is to train and certify, not the contractor, but the individual on site who is responsible for directing the construction activities on the site. Once he/she is trained, then he/she can supervise the building of multiple safe and durable houses throughout the Caribbean, regardless of whom he/she works for.

    5. You do not need to pay an Engineer to design your house. All of the technical advice normally provided by civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers and architects is included in the Barbados National Building Code, which is sold by BNSI for $100.

    Regards,
    Grenville


  21. @ Grenville
    …Bushie has no issues with your position as stated @ 11.41 p.m. above.

    SO..
    …if you have no problems with Bushie living in his shack IF HE WANTS TO….
    …can you tell us exactly what you were lobbying successive government over the past many years to do..?

    While you are at it, can you say exactly why you are so concerned that “no one is looking out for the home owner to see that they get what they pay for….”
    …wait bozie, you is some kind of superhero now? Why should anyone but the HOME OWNER be looking out that he don’t get ripped off…? …and what the hell did you plan to get the Government involved in this to do…? Let us all thank God that you failed so far….else you would NOW see rip off…!!!

    Grenville, you are doing a great thing by training contractors. It is even better that you are educating us about the importance of proper construction of our homes.
    BUT PLEASE, neither you or any government are our mommies and daddies, maybe just lead us to the water, BUT don’t feel that you have to make us drink.

    @ John
    You are obviously seeking to earn the distinction of being even less logical, and more consistently wrong than old onions.
    …so you see a distinction between a citizen’s right to choose what house they wish to live in, and their right to eat whatever food they may choose to eat? Or what car to buy, or woman to marry (..or man if Wickham gets his way… 🙂 )
    Note that Grenville ( who is a ‘real real’ engineer) has no such difficulty….. And THINK!!

    What brothers’ keepers what?!?

    if wanna can’t even keep wanna self what brothers wanna could keep..?


  22. Grenville, shouldn’t the banks and insurance companies have an interest in ensuring houses are built to a standard? Are thy not the ones who have the deeds holding as security for the loans?


  23. “shouldn’t the banks and insurance companies have an interest in ensuring houses are built to a standard?”

    David… Happy Whitsunday. I think Grenville addressed that in point 3… the banks and insurance companies are interested in maximising profit… their interest rates and premiums take into account standards and risks in the sector.

    “if you have no problems with Bushie living in his shack”

    Wanna mind Bushie and dah shack talk…. his house design to survive Armageddon.

    I would agree that Government shouldn’t have to protect us from ourselves, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too… if you choose to live in a social democracy with certain social services, you must be prepared to forfeit some freedoms.


    • @MME

      Same to you but in the event of a disaster isn’t the asset what is realizable? If the asset is flawed i.e. compromised by poor standards don’t the banks and insurance companies lose at the end? What are we missing here?


  24. @David

    it is time that we have legislation for compulsory house insurance. It pains me to see old houses with big dishes and multichoice antenna on the premises and i would hazzard a guess that a lot dont have insurance. They can find maoney to pay those montly charges but dont want insurance and then when anythings happens govt must foot the bill to give them newhouses or repair the houses.j


  25. David | May 27, 2012 at 9:42 AM |
    @MME

    Same to you but in the event of a disaster isn’t the asset what is realizable? If the asset is flawed i.e. compromised by poor standards don’t the banks and insurance companies lose at the end? What are we missing here?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    …… the concept of instant gratification!!


  26. David, I may be wrong, but I suspect that their interest rates, premiums and excess rates are sufficiently high that they won’t lose in the event of a disaster. You have to pay the excess before liability passes to the insurer.

    I agree that it would be in the long-term interests of banks and insurers if building standards were in place… but we live in a world of quick fixes and quarterly earnings targets.


  27. “in the event of a disaster” .
    That is why you pay mortgage and building replacement Insurance.
    Its all about profit..

    Speaking about disasters Windies 15 for 2.


  28. Chanderpaul gone. The foundation of West Indies batting has a crack.
    I ent watching nuh more of this. I gine fuh a Second Cup Paradiso.

    An Bush Tea. I bet you live in a wall house with more stell in it than the Hilton.
    When the Hurricane come you just pull in the storm shutters you and your familly chillin.


  29. Hi BushT et al:

    I was lobbying for the inclusion of the following condition in the Town Planning office’s standard conditions of development approval: “The construction must comply with the minimum structural requirements in the Barbados National Building Code.” This could finally give homeowners a building standard to which to hold their contractors accountable.

    The residential drawings that most contractors are given do not have any information on the standard of building. I normally advise homeowners to have the following minimal information in their contractual arrangement with their builder. The builder agrees to build the house on the approved drawings, to the standards of the BNBC, for a specified amount and in a specified time.

    So, the only Government involvement is to alert the homeowner that construction standards exist and should be followed. Please be advised that minimum safety standards are specified in the BNBC for temporary/minor structures, including mobile units and tents..

    In my opinion, homeowners pay to have a quality building. When I say that no one is looking out for them, I mean the following.

    a) The Town Planning approved plans have no information on the standard of building, and the Town Planning’s Inspectors (who the Homeowner pays for) do not inspect the quality of construction.

    b) The Banks force homeowners to pay for inspections before each drawdown of funds except the first, but the inspectors do not inspect the quality of construction, just progress.

    c) The Insurance companies only inspect the site if the location is vulnerable, like on the coast. They do not inspect the quality of construction.

    Regards,
    Grenville


  30. Hi David:

    I agree that Banks should be interested, but they are taken care of by forcing their clients to take out insurance. Therefore, they will get paid.

    I also agree that the Insurance Companies should be interested, but they make the homeowner responsible for the first likely damage, and have international re-insurers carry the catastrophic losses. Therefore, they get paid. However, some of them are making a small effort.

    Reinsurers deal with regional and global risks, so even an excellent local building program has negligible statistical effect on overall the risk levels.

    Therefore, the homeowners are forced to look after themselves – but the history of natural hazards shows that everyone is failing them. They have paid or are paying a Government regulatory authority (Town Planning), Banks, Insurance companies and a Contractor for a quality building, and as Haiti has shown us, they are in-fact paying for expensive tombs.

    Regards,
    Grenville


  31. “the history of natural hazards shows that everyone is failing them”

    Grenville,

    What has been the cost of natural hazards to Barbados for the past 50 years and what would the cost of the measures you are proposing have been over the same period?


    • Hi MME:

      Tropical Storm Tomas caused $37M in damage in 2012.

      Since the publication of the Building Code in 1993, let us assume that 20,000 houses have been constructed. If they were built according to the minimum standards in the Building Code, then a homeowner could have saved at least $1,000 per house. This would result in a savng of $20M.

      So far, a saving of $57M, and we have not yet included the loses from the other tropical storms and hurricanes over the past 50 years.

      Regards,
      Grenville


  32. Thanks Grenville.

    How did you come up with that estimate of $1,000 per home saved since 1994 if the building code had been enforced? Where did you get the figure of $37M in damages from Tomas from and is it reasonable to assume that 100% of these costs would have been avoided if the building code had been enforced? Even if we used this figure, the total amount couldn’t be attributed to the 20,000 homes since (a) they only represent about one-fifth of the total housing stock exposed to the storm, and (b) chances are the pre-1994 housing stock was more at risk and would have borne a disproportionately higher share of total repair costs following the storm.

    The cost of enforcement of the building code locally was estimated at 0.3% of building cost, for the Building Authority to be fully self-financing. To this figure we have the added construction time (waiting for compliance certificates etc.) and other associated cost. Maybe we can use a figure of 0.5% total increase in building cost, although figures I have seen from around the world range from 1% to 5% following enforcement. Help us with some rough estimates for average floor area and cost per sq.ft. for houses constructed since 1994, so that we can estimate the enforcement cost during that period in comparison to the estimated benefits.


  33. @ MME
    wait skipper, you serious?
    You and Grenville think this is an engineering Journal or wuh?

    Sweet!
    all we need now is for Georgie Porgie to show up….


  34. @ MME & Hants
    Wanna mind Bushie and dah shack talk…. his house design to survive Armageddon.
    ******************************
    Now wanna see that kind of talk…..?
    While the statement may be true, it may not be directly related to the engineering specifications of the Bushman’s shack.
    It must be emphasized that Bushie has no real need to survive Armageddon… at least not in the current format..


  35. Hi MME:

    As requested.

    1. The cost saving to the homeowner of building to the minimum standards of the building code compared to how contractor’s currently build is estimated at $1,000 minimum. This is based on the excess materials that contractors normally include in a house.

    2. The $37M cost to taxpayers from Tomas alone was reported by the Nation, and most of it could have been avoided if the houses were properly built.

    3. Pre 1993 houses are not necessarily more vulnerable since most of them were built while the apprenticeship system for artisans was still effective. Since the last building boom (after 1993), the market was flooded with inexperienced artisans, with no knowledge of proper building standards, resulting in the current set of vulnerable houses.

    4. I am not advocating the current Building Authority model, which is expected to be an inefficient institution. A more efficient model would be to train the planning inspectors (as I have done in Grenada and Dominica) resulting in no additional to homeowners or taxpayers.

    Regards,
    Grenville

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