Termite Delight

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

Last week, I observed untreated timber being used to frame the roofs of three houses. The foreseen result is termites feeding on the untreated wood, resulting in a roof weakened to the point where it will fail prematurely during a hurricane.

Why would homeowners use ‘termite delight’ to build their structural frames? They were likely unaware, because they trusted their builders to do what was right. Why would builders choose untreated timber for their clients? The likely reason is that it is cheaper.


A 14 foot long 2”x6” pressure-treated structural Pine costs about $70. The cost of the same size in untreated timber may cost $35. Therefore, the builder may save about $1,500 by using untreated rafters in the roof of a 1,000 sq-ft (3-bedroom, 2-bathroom) house. After the hurricane, the homeowner may have to spend about $25,000 to replace the roof.

The annual home insurance premium for such a house is about $1,500. The cost to termite-treat such a house that was built using untreated timber is about $1,500. But that termite treatment is only effective for about 5 years, which means that the house should be treated for termites every 5 years. By comparison, the termite treatment in pressure-treated timber remains effective for about 60 years.


To ensure that their builders use termite treated timber, homeowners should purchase the termite treated structural timber themselves. If the builder has already purchased the timber, then they should request a copy of the payment receipt. They should then visit the store and request a sample of both pressure-treated and untreated 2”x6” structural Pine timbers – then they should visit their building site.

If they see untreated timbers in their roof, they should inform the builder that they are not paying for untreated timber, or any roof cladding on that timber, or any ceiling supported by it. If he does not replace the untreated timber at his own cost, then the homeowner needs to find a better builder.


It should be illegal to use untreated softwood, like Pine, to frame any part of a house in the Caribbean. If persons want to use untreated softwood for non-structural purposes, then the longest length of timber sold should be six feet, to prevent it from being hidden from the owner, in plain sight, in the structure of a house. Anything longer, should require a special license.

The evidence of damaged termite weakened timber frames from Tropical Storm Tomas (2010) and Tropical Storm/Category 1 hurricane Elsa (2021) was overwhelming. It is foreseen that a Category 3 hurricane will likely result in the failure of most roofs in Barbados. The hurricane season is fast approaching, and we are running out of time to take this risk seriously.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Difficult Conversations – Do Not Repair that Crack!

The collapse of the 12-storey residential building in Miami is tragic – but instructive.

Buildings collapse because they cannot support their loads.  Loads can be categorised as short-term and long-term.  Loads that are applied for a relatively short time include: hurricanes, earthquakes, collisions, and explosions.  Loads that are applied for a long time include furniture and appliances, and those from human activities, like sitting, walking and dancing.

An occupied building that collapses, without being impacted by short-term loads, likely weakened to the point where it could no longer support the long-term loads.


A building weakens when its building materials deteriorate naturally.  For example, steel reinforcement can corrode; moisture can damage timber, masonry, and concrete building components; insects can damage timber frames; and the sun’s intense heat and UV rays can damage plastics, binders, sealants, and paints.

Designers should try to reduce the rate of weakening, by selecting durable materials, and protecting non-durable materials.  This tends to be done if maintenance is an important design criterion.  It rarely is.  For it to be, Clients should insist on it.


Buildings that progressively weaken, normally signal that they are under stress with structural cracks. Therefore, it is critical that building cracks be accurately interpreted before any remedial action is taken.

If cracks are found to be structural in nature, then the building may need to be strengthened.  If they are non-structural, then they may be sealed and painted.

Given the critical importance of accurate crack interpretation, and the limited number of experienced structural engineers to accurately interpret them, I wrote a simple descriptive book called “What Do These Cracks Mean?”.  The book helps the public interpret cracks in buildings, to identify both structural and non-structural cracks.


Some building owners want to know which cracks are structural, because they are concerned about the safety of the occupants.  Other building owners are more concerned about attracting and keeping paying tenants, and do not want anything visible that may cause them alarm – certainly not a visible crack.

A building owner may be tempted to instruct that all visible cracks be sealed and painted over, to hide them from the view of occupants. This gives all parties a false sense of security. If a structural engineer inspector was unaware of repaired structural cracks, then the engineer may inaccurately report that the building is not under stress – when it may be under severe structural stress.

This tragedy in Miami should teach us not to ignore a building’s crack-warnings. Maintenance persons should never seal and paint over cracks – until they have been interpreted as non-structural.


During my first term as president of the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers, I was contacted by several Engineers, who were visiting Barbados.  They were alarmed at the structural condition of the hotels in which they were staying, and asked what sort of outfit we were running.

I admitted that I had not inspected hotels in Barbados – only outside of Barbados.  So, I promised them that I would visit the hotels in question.  I was appalled at what I observed.  I immediately contacted the Ministry of Tourism, and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, and we agreed to a strategy on the way forward.


I was to privately inform the hotels’ management of what I had observed, and suggest that they get it independently inspected and addressed.  To my surprise, the hotels asked me to put my concerns in writing.  I was elated that they were treating this with the seriousness that it demanded, and I hand delivered each letter.

Their response was alarming.  I received letters threatened me personally with legal action, if I disclosed what I had seen.  This happened near the end of my term as President.  After seeing how harshly I was treated, the new President chose not to attract similar threats, and the program was abandoned.


There is no requirement for structural inspections of buildings in Barbados, neither during nor after construction.   Buildings generally appear to be unnecessarily designed and constructed to be high-maintenance – in the environmentally harsh Caribbean environment.  That maintenance of buildings is a low-priority item, is evidenced by the number of abandoned buildings around Barbados.

Given that some building owners seem to think that structural cracks will magically repair themselves with sealing and painting, all building occupants must attend to their own safety.


If they see cracked concrete, corroding steel reinforcement, or deformed structural steel, especially in a multistorey building, they should insist on having it inspected.

If they see someone repairing structural cracks by sealing and painting, they should inform them that if they continue, and the building collapses, they may be charged with manslaughter.  If they persist, then they should be informed that their now intentional act may upgrade the charge to murder.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Difficult Conversations – Paying for your house in six years – Part 2

Last week, I described the concept of a couple owning their house in 6 years, without paying more than twice the cost of the property in a 30-year mortgage. This article provides further details.

The house should be designed as both a starter and retirement house. This would be a 1,000 sq ft, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, open concept styled house, with a laundry/storage room. The house should be designed for comfortable wheelchair access, which includes 12’x12’ bedrooms, 6’x10’ bathrooms and laundry/storage room, and 40” wide corridors.


The house should be designed and constructed to survive the recent Category 5 hurricanes that struck the Caribbean in the past 4 years, and a magnitude 7 earthquake (that struck Haiti in 2010). The Barbados building code’s standard is a Category 2 hurricane – but that is not enough.

The cost of additional materials to resist the Category 5 hurricane, is approximately a mortgage payment for one month – so it is easily affordable. The additional cost for earthquake resistance is $0.00. You just have to know how to assemble the existing building materials.

Retired and disabled persons may not have the funds and mobility to repair and maintain their houses. Therefore, the house should not only be designed to survive natural hazards, but be extremely low maintenance.


The lot size should have a 10 ft distance to the side and rear boundaries (instead of the minimum 6 ft Town Planning requirement). This minimizes the risk of fire jumps, and provides more privacy.

It should also have approximately 20 ft distance to the road for the option of planting a tree and parking a car. This results in a minimum 3,000 sq ft lot.


The cost of the house should not exceed $150,000. An individual can save approximately $1,000 each month for 12 years, and build the house in year 12, with no interest payments. A couple can save twice that amount and build their house in year six, without paying interest.

The main risk of saving now and building later, is that the costs of construction may increase over 12 years. If twelve couples engaged a contractor to build two houses each year, 12 houses can be built in 6 years. The unit cost of the houses should be less expensive than if the contractor was engaged to build only one. Excess materials purchased for one house can be used on another, to the benefit of all couples.


To reduce the risk of disputes, the quantity and quality of work to be done must be clearly and accurately defined, and disputes independently adjudicated. To further reduce the risks of disputes, the contractor should prepare samples of the quality of finishing work for approval, prior to starting that work.

For example, the contractor should prepare a 3 ft x 3 ft sample of wall painting and floor tiling for approval, before painting or tiling the house. If the contractor is unable to achieve the required quality o the sample, then specialist finishers should be engaged.

With this method, the contractor will have an incentive to do quality work, and repair all defects. Also, couples building after year one can see the quality of what they are getting, and the issues that are arising, and make improvements before the other houses are built.


Each participating couple should either own, or plan to own land within five years. Since it is a starter house, they do not need look for their ideal lot at this time.

Two couples need to own land, and have town planning approval for their house, during the first year. If a couple does not own land in six years, then they would simply have saved $150,000, and can do what they want with it. Couples are encouraged to own their land before building on it.


Two methods are proposed for managing payments to the contractor. One is for each group of 12 couples to form a company, which will own the land and houses for six years, and then transfer ownership of each house and land to the respective couple at the end of six years.

Since we seem to have a challenge trusting each-other, banks and credit unions get to benefit. However, to get into into decades long debt at this uncertain time is extremely bad advice.

Couples may negotiate a 7-year mortgage, but start saving immediately to minimize the amount borrowed. By getting a mortgage, a couple can build their house whenever they want, and pay off the loan within seven years. To get some group construction benefits, two couples can engage a contractor to build two houses in one year.

I am currently designing the starter house described in this article, with full construction details to guide contractors. The drawings should be available for anyone to download, free of cost, around July this year.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Difficult Conversations – How to own your house in six years

A home mortgage is the price people pay for having a house before it is fully paid for. The price the unfortunate homeowners must pay is very high indeed – they must repay more than twice what they borrowed.

Why would people choose to repay so much, in an uncertain economy, for 30-years? Why would people agree to risk losing their house, and all the payments they made, if they missed paying their monthly payments? The simple answer is that new homeowners are normally desperate, uninformed, and easily taken advantage of.

Potential homeowners should know that they have a better financing option. Couples can pay for their house in six years, instead of 30, and pay no interest whatsoever. To do this, a group of 12 couples must agree to form a company to build 12 starter houses.

Each person in the group must agree to pay the monthly amount that they would normally pay on a 30-year mortgage for a starter house, for six years. Two strong and durable starter houses (1,000 sq ft, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1 pantry/laundry room, open concept), that can withstand Category 5 hurricanes and magnitude 7 earthquakes, should be built each year, with the final two being built in year six.

There are several methods of reducing the risks of persons not paying their monthly amounts. First, the time is reduced to 6 years, by having each of the 24 persons make the payments. Second, it is for couples, where a person’s spouse can assist if there is a temporary financial challenge. Third, it is for a starter house, where the payments should be affordable for all participants.

To further reduce repayment risks, all twelve properties (houses and lands) should be owned by a company, that is owned by all the homeowners. After all houses have been built, the ownership of each property should be transferred to the respective couple.

In the event of death or disability, each couple should have term-insurance for six years, where the company is the beneficiary.

To address temporary financial challenges, each couple should have an emergency credit card, with a credit limit of six monthly payments. This card should only be used to make emergency monthly payments. To keep persons accountable, the credit card’s monthly statements should be copied to the company.

If a couple’s financial situation is so dire, that their only option is to use their emergency credit card to make payments for three consecutive months, then they will likely put the program at risk. The other persons will have to decide whether to increase their monthly amounts to assist the couple in need, or terminate the agreement with the couple. If a couple’s agreement with the company is terminated, then the company should take a short-term loan of the total amount that the couple contributed, for a duration of the remainder of the 6 years. The couple in need should receive the total amount that they paid, less the interest on the loan. A new couple should then be invited to take their place.
At the end of six years, the 12 couples can agree to either close the company, or build one house each year to sell and generate wealth.

The question is, if a couple can own a comfortable, strong and durable starter house in six years, and pay no interest, then why don’t they do this? Why would anyone pay more than twice the value of their house, and risk losing it if monthly payments are missed over the uncertainty of 30 years?

The simple answer is that they received bad advice, and should dissuade others from doing the same. However, if 12 couples cannot be found in Barbados, to demonstrate how wealth may be created, then we are doing the next generation of Barbadians a grave disservice.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Structural Engineer Grenville Phillips II Offering Course To Train Construction Foremen

Structual Engineer Grenville Phillips II

Structural Engineer Grenville Phillips II

Structural Engineer Grenville Phillips II has initiated a new strategy to reduce the vulnerability of houses to natural hazards.  He has developed a course and hopes to train construction foremen – eventually awarding them with a College diploma with the support of Walbrent College.

Courses are scheduled to be held after normal construction working hours, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm.  The next course is scheduled to start on Tuesday, 1st February 2011.  Please contact Walbrent College at e-mail: Admin@Walbrent.com for registration information.  You can also get further details at www.Walbrent.com.

Read out this proactive initiative on Grenville’s blog Weighed in the Balance.

Call To Implement The Barbados Building Code

Submitted by The Scout

The experience of Tropical Storm TOMAS which  passed Barbados a few days ago should jolt the government into seriously implementing the building code. It appears that too many shortcuts are being taken to construct buildings in recent years. The situation was getting bad for a while but with the boom in construction a few years ago, many persons became builders ignorant of the fundamentals of construction. Ask many of our builders/contractors of today the width of the footings for a single storey house as against a two storey or multi-storey building, most of them would be out to sea.

You dare not ask them what PSI is used in the concrete for the said buildings. The amount of reinforcement steel to be used is usually a hit or miss situation, also the width of concrete blocks used. Many times 6″ wide blocks are used on two storey houses, also the inadequate amount of reinforcement steel, all in an effort to reduce the building cost.

The mixture of the mortar is usually done in an unprofessional manner, with water constantly being added to soften the mixture if the cement starts to set. Roofs are too often constructed with the wrong size timber and then not connected in a professional way to the beam of the building, hence many roofs are removed when under moderate to strong wind pressure.

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Promised Integrity Legislation Bill To Be Debated In Parliament

The Integrity Legislation (draft) promised by the Democratic Labour Party government is listed on the Barbados Parliament website to be debated soon. It is a 157 page document, look forward to feedback from the BU family.

See link to Prevention of Corruption Bill 2010

Four Seasons Restart

Submitted by The Scout

Professor Avinash D. Persaud

Over the last few weeks the talk about restarting the Four Seasons Project has been in the news. According to Professor Avinash Persaud, the man leading the project,  it may start towards the end of this year. The big question is this – will the previous workers be given first option to work or will Bajans be favoured?

We all know that a large contingent of Chinese workers plus a fairly large amount of regional workers were the ones employed on the project. It was also rumoured that many competent Bajans were refused work on that project. The reason for the influx of non-Barbadian workers at that time was that there was a construction boom and “outside” help was needed. Right now things are tight and many Bajan artisans are just “picking ” a day or two per week to try and keep their families with food on the table.

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Coming To Barbados: A North American City (11)

Submitted by Looking Glass

That Pickering might not be starting soon because NRDC is unable to attract investors to raise the $1.7bn needed (Arthur: Nation August, 1, 2010) is untrue. The amount cited is loose change for the real owners of NRDC. The reason(s) for seeking an investor, which is not at all unusual, is beyond the comprehension of the economist. Involvement with companies like Cellate is nothing new. Look back at similar projects you facilitated in the last decade or so. Is the pot calling the kettle black? And what about the hospital in St Peter that was sold some years ago (I believe in 2005). Check out how many blacks are on staff and the last time a Blackie was treated there.

First let it be understood that I am not opposed to foreign investment per se, but against projects not in the better interest of the country. Lands at Long Beach, St. George and Brighton acquired by Americans to build homes for Americans and other foreigners can hardly be said to constitute sustainable development. Our most famous soul, recognized by Her Majesty, was denied access to the American owned golf course and nothing was done about it. It is foolish to believe that nig-nig will have access to the homes and or the surroundings.

The Pickering plan did not come off the drawing board overnight. It is a minor version of a massive Ontario project– 450 room hotel, 5000 seat performance venue, movie theatre, residential, office retail centre etc– schedule to begin later this year and be completed in five years which is four years sooner than Pickering.

Related Link

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Critiquing Owen Arthur’s View On Awarding Contracts

Submitted by Douglas Phillips

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur

Mr. Owen Arthur, the Prime Minister of Barbados from 1994 until 2008, in his recent speeches has made comment on the present use by government of large contracting firms rather than the small man. At first thought it appears that Mr. Arthur is attempting to get easy political mileage at the expense of the present administration, but he went on to mention the name Mr. Mohammed Nassar and you realise that even Mr. Arthur would know that there is a limit to the number of times one man should be bailed out by the same economy.

Clearly the name he should have called was Mr. Barrack which experience we are sure Mr. Arthur would like to forget. It was Mr. Arthur’s administration which contracted with Mr. Barrack that has left the present administration with the fiasco which has been publicized so well. In retrospect Mr. Arthur’s regime in an effort to avoid more experiences like the Barrack one, started contracting with large contractors to build Sapphire Beach condominiums, that construction was completed last month at a a cost which was 1½% over the cost estimated when the contract was signed. The new Supreme Court complex and many others. Appointing large contractors was clearly a step in the right direction when you compare some of the other projects which the present administration inherited like the ABC Highway among many others.

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Mabey & Johnson Former Employer Of Jonathan Danos Fined On Bribery Charge

mabey_johnsonThe British media unlike that in Barbados recently reported on the legal troubles the British company Mabey & Johnson is currently enduring. The BU family should remember that Janathan Danos was a former executive at Mabey & Johnson who subsequently left to form the company 3S Barbados to facilitate the ABC Highway Project (search BU for the many blogs posted on the murky project). Although Mabey & Johnson failed to win the road widening ABC Highway job, Danos was lucky to setup a five man company months before the previous government issued a multi-million contract to 3S Barbados using a rolling MOU which continues to be a hotly debated matter.

What is it the British media has printed about Danos’ former employer?

On July 2009 the Times Online reported that Mabey & Johnson a leading UK bridge-building company appeared in court today to say it will plead guilty to charges of overseas corruption and breaching United Nations sanctions. Mabey is charged with offences relating to activities in Jamaica and Ghana between 1993 and 2001.

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On The Flyovers For The ABC Highway

Submitted by BU’s ABC Source

overpassesFirst let me clarify a simple point.  The structures now being called flyovers are more correctly termed overpass bridges.

The analysis carried out by 3S and presented to Government (both administrations) used the Norman Niles roundabout as the test junction.  The analysis showed that the “flyover” solution would have alleviated the congestion along the highway.  It did however show that even with the “flyovers” gridlock would still exist in the east-west, that is, into Bridgetown.  The analysis had some errors that should be pointed out.  These are (1) the analysis did not take into consideration that the traffic crossing any one roundabout in the north-south direction traversed several roundabouts while almost all the traffic in the east-west direction crossed only one roundabout.  This tended to give a much higher count and therefore weight to the north-south traffic.  (2) the economic analysis that showed the flyover solution to be cost effective assumed a similar economic value to traffic in all directions.  We all know that delays to traffic into Bridgetown on mornings have a significantly greater economic impact than traffic in any other direction.  (3) at the time the analysis was done the stated cost of the flyovers was considerably less than August 2007 when a revised cost was given.  This could have had a considerable impact on the cost-benefit analysis.

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A Case Of The Fatted Calf Being Slaughtered?

arable-landBloggers around the world are being asked  to take action to combat the poverty and hunger affecting more than 500 million people worldwide and responsible for the deaths of over 15 million children each year through a campaign Blogger Unite For Hunger and Hope. BU although concerned about people everywhere the campaign (blogging)  has served to bring to the fore again the little regard Barbadians have for agriculture and by extension food security.

BU commenter Nostradamus reminded us recently that there is an application in Town Planning to change 136 acres of agricultural land, representing 30% of Staple Grove Plantation, from agricultural to residentialthere will be a Consultation at the Meeting Hall of St. David’s Anglican Church on Monday April 27, 2009 at 6:00pm. The meeting will allow for comment and discussion on the proposed plans for the subdivision of lands at St. David’s Village, Ch. Ch and Staple grove Ch. Ch. Into lots for residential purposes.

The government led by Minister Michael Lashley has been on a quest to generate housing solutions to deliver on a Democratic Labour Party campaign promise. The government led by Minister Haynesley Benn has also been on a quest to move agriculture back to the centre of our economy. The two Ministers maybe on a collision course given all that has happened during the previous government when there were many accusations levelled that prime agricultural land was being sub-divided willy-nilly for residential and other purposes.

In light of the above BU’s interest was peeked when commenter Nostradamus made his intervention.  Luckily we were able to persuade a BU family member to attend the Consultation on the sub-division of lands at Staple Grove, St. Davids for residential purposes and report back her findings.

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Barbados Association Of Professional Engineers And The ABC Highway

Submitted by BU Family Member

Artist Impression Of The Proposed Flyover At A Roundabout In Barbados

Do the light poles look any different now from those on any section of the highway?

(BAPE said the lightpole bases “looked small” 😉

Does the island in the Belle still look too far out in the road now the road is completed?

(Another BAPE point)

Now that the wells that were planned uphill from the Haggatt Hall area are in place, is there still water “sheeting” across the road?

(BAPE jumped to a wonderful evaluation on an incomplete project)

Now that we STILL have backups at the roundabouts is BAPE willing to admit that flyovers just MAY be warranted?

Its beginning to look more and more like the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers was either

(1) playing politics itself,

(2) being used to further others political ends or

(3) just didn’t know what they were talking about!

Related Link

Owen Arthur Infers Local Barbadian Engineers Are B-Class

West Coast Developers Wanted




Barbadians have had to suffer in pain as we have had to make the trek along the West Coast of Barbados in recent years. Many of the windows to the sea have now been obliterated and most of the pedestrian trails to beaches on the West Coast have seen barriers erected as the rich and famous preserve their plots. How prophetic the words of the Mighty Gabby’s popular calypso Jack has turned out to be.

The BU household is not stupid. We understand the need for Barbados to attract foreign investment. We understand the need to build modern infrastructure to ensure that Barbados is positioned in the global economy to access opportunities to feed its people. What we don’t understand is the unplanned approach to the physical development of Barbados, in particular when directed at our precious coastline.

In light of the above the BU household and co-plaintiff (BU family member X) intends to launch a lawsuit in the Court of Public Opinion against those developers who have been at the forefront of the West Coast development in Barbados. A furious search is therefore on the way to find certain parties who have been hopping from private planes, boats and villas to avoid appearance in the Court of Public Opinion.

All help from the Bajan Blogosphere in locating parties named is appreciated.

Houses Built On Sandy Ground Cannot Stand ~ Where Is Our Building Code?

A new DLP administration will commit to providing incentives to new and existing small and medium size players to come into the sector. We will honour a previous commitment to ensure that at least 40% of all government’s procurement requests for goods and services are reserved for sourcing from small and medium size enterprises.

Source: DLP Manifesto 2008

Building CodeBU have blogged about the lack of regulated building standards being applied in the building sector in Barbados. Our concern has been heightened against the back drop of a construction sector which has been on the boil for almost a decade, and it shows no immediate signs of significantly slowing down. There is a fear among many Barbadians that the building stock of Barbados maybe vulnerable. We do not mean to pick on our local engineers, the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) et al, but why does the Barbadian public have to rely on their personal ethics alone when engaging their services? In the absence of an enforceable building code that is how we have to sum up the current state of affairs.

The Britton’s Hill incident reminded us that all is not well with the construction methodology at work in Barbados. So far we have heard a lot of hot air to fill a Richard Branson air ballon from many of the stakeholders in the industry. Will we ever know what happened to trigger the Britton’s Hill mess? Not only do we have a building sector operating with a DRAFT building code, but a Town Planning Unit that readily admits it is ill-equipped to provide effective oversight to the industry. We remember the song and dance made during the early stage of the construction of the Four Season project currently being built by businessmen Michael Pemberton et al.

Weren’t there some questions being asked about the quality of the steel being used in the construction of the hotel, said to be imported from China?

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Structural Engineer Grenville Phillips Hits Brick Wall

phillips I have come to the unfortunate realization that we are doomed to experience the misery and economic setback that other Caribbean islands experienced after being examined by major hurricanes. These countries only paid attention to building standards after their buildings were weighed in the balance and found wanting.

I have given up hope that the Town Planning department will accept their responsibility to ensure that houses are both designed and built properly, until they actually see the devastation that they could have prevented. I have also given up hope that the Ministry of Housing will accept its responsibility to ensure that their proposed 2,500 “units” will be anything but sub-standard.

During the past 12 years, I have rarely seen a house built that confirms to the minimum structural requirements of our national building standard. It is very distressing to report that every one of those sub-standard houses could have been built properly at no additional cost. There seems to be a strange belief among builders and homeowners that they can somehow realize good quality construction by simply wishing it to be so.

Read the full article supported with pictures on Mr. Phillip’s Weighed In The Balance Blog

Grenville Phillips III is one of the few structural engineers in Barbados who has been willing to share information with the public in a direct way. We have featured a few of his informative articles which he has written on BU which he has published on his blog. Constructing a house is the most important decision most individuals will make, and the single greatest expense undertaken in their life time. It is therefore a very distressing thought that a leading Structural Engineer in Barbados in the person of Mr. Phillips would make such a damning statement “During the past 12 years, I have rarely seen a house built that confirms to the minimum structural requirements of our national building standard.” or “I have given up hope that the Town Planning department will accept their responsibility to ensure that houses are both designed and built properly, until they actually see the devastation that they could have prevented.” In most countries if a leading engineer uttered the kind of observation which Mr. Phillips has levelled, the government would be under pressure to respond. We have a new government in position so that will be used as an excuse to ignore Mr. Phillip’s cry for the moment. The Town Planning Unit which is reported to be understaffed and under equipped, we learned this after the Britton’s Hill tragedy, could use a Public Relations Officer because we never hear from them on the perennial issues of our poor building standards.

Mr. Phillips, as a Barbadian we the BU household have come to appreciate your forthrightness when dealing with matters in your profession which affect the public of Barbados. We understand your frustration but urge you to continue to make your professional observations public. Like you we continue to be amazed to witness the massive construction underway in Barbados while the lack of an enforceable building code continues to reveal a negligence by our regulatory and policymaking bodies.

As a civic minded person, which you seem to be, we applaud you Sir on your effort to heighten awareness in the area of construction.


Related Articles

Can we achieve affordable housing in Barbados?

Confusion In The Construction Sector Continues In Barbados Unabated

Sub-Par Housing Stock In Barbados Rampant In The Absence Of Building Code
Is The Town Planning Office Of Barbados Delivering Its Mandate?
A Clear Danger-Where Is The Town Planner Part II
The Chief Town Planner Of Barbados Comes Under The Microscope If We Are To Examine The Cause Of The Tragedy at Brittons Hill In Barbados



Confusion In The Construction Sector Continues In Barbados Unabated

The Government of Barbados has several roles. One critical role is to regulate industries that are out of control. The residential construction industry is out of control. We have been fortunate as a country to have had a Government with the vision to establish national building standards. The Barbados National Building Code was published 15 years ago, just before the current unprecedented building boom. The Code includes much of the technical advice that the following professionals normally provide their clients:

  • Civil Engineers
  • Structural Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Electrical Engineers
  • Architects
  • Planners.

Yet, for some inexplicable reason, the Government has not required that builders follow the national building standards. In my opinion, requiring builders to follow the minimum building standards does not require the proclamation of any new laws. Last weekend, I visited some residential building construction sites hoping that I would see some improvement in the residential construction building practices. There was little good construction available for me to photograph, but the ubiquitous sub-standard construction completely filled my 1 Gigabyte memory card.

Source: Weighed In The Balance

Last week we highlighted an article which Structural Engineer Grenville Phillips III published on his blog. We found his input to be very educational and we take the opportunity to encourage others to come forward and share information with the public. We are in a building boom which has been unravelling for a long period of time. We have been importing labour in the construction industry to respond to the demand. Access to ready mortgage financing has made it possible for many Barbadians to build houses in numbers. It is important that if Barbadians are not to fritter away their investments on such a significant undertaking our authorities need to ensure that our Building Code is enforced.

Read on to gain some insights from someone who is qualified to speak.


Previous Article By Same Blogger

Sub-Par Housing Stock In Barbados Rampant In The Absence Of Building Code


With yet another hurricane season on the horizon, a local and prominent Structural Engineer Grenville Phillips III has blogged about his grave concerns regarding the structural integrity of most of the government houses being built. He did not give the private sector development a passing grade either!

Whenever I am driving through a new housing development, I habitually stop and inspect the building construction work. Sometimes I photograph what I observe. I have yet to observe a house being constructed to the minimum structural standards of the Barbados National Building Code.

It is less expensive to build a house to the standards of the Building Code than how builders are currently build houses in Barbados. Therefore, cost is not a valid excuse for non-compliance. Why then do builders build substandard houses?

Source: Weighed In The Balance

We hope that the newly installed government will see the importance of rolling out a building code as soon as possible. Barbados is a country which is densely populated and still a developing country; any havoc to our housing stock would severely deplete our resources in the reconstruction effort. We venture to say that it would set us back many years. In the meantime, tourism which is the life blood of our economy would suffer significantly.

The view into the crystal ball does not look good if we were to be struck by a hurricane!

The Barbados Association Of Professional Engineers (BAPE) Have Some More FREE Advice For Government~Will It Be Heeded This Time Around?


Recently, The Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) have been in the news often. It seems that Barbados has allocated millions of dollars to educating our people only to ignore their free advice when become qualified. It is well documented that BAPE has expressed concerns about the Operation Free Flow Project better known as the flyovers only to be told SHUT-UP by Minister Gline Clarke. We have written extensively about BAPE and the flyover project. If we were engineers we would feel slighted by all that has happened. Although BAPE has been described as a spineless association by the DLP at a recent political meeting, we have to shower them (BAPE) with praise for sticking to their guns regarding the need for government and 3S Barbados to clarify some technical issues related to the flyover project.

The latest concerns that BAPE has highlighted relate to the need for Barbados to implement the much touted building code. Based on our research there is a draft building code dating back to the early nineties. Although some of our responsible engineers, contractors, architects and other professionals follow the code they are not obligated to do so. (Again, we have written several articles about this issue.) BAPE is reporting that one month after the unfortunate Britton’s Hill tragedy where part of an apartment building collapsed into a cave, a new draft building code was circulated among the relevant professionals for discussion and feedback. In a nutshell if the new building code is proclaimed into law “it would mean that all building plans and alterations, including relatively minor ones, would have to be submitted to a new authority to verify conformity with the code, causing at least six weeks delay and additional cost in obtaining approvals.” BAPE is of the view that although there is a need for a building code/authority, the current proposal will create a large and inefficient bureaucracy.

We agree!

Here is what BAPE has proposed:

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Flyovers In Barbados Revisited~Barbados Association Of Professional Engineers (BAPE) Stick To Their Guns


Barbados Underground (BU) congratulate the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) for sticking to their previous demands made to the government of Barbados and 3S Barbados SRL, the company contracted to build the flyovers, to provide them with the opportunity to clarify some technical questions concerning aspects of the flyover project. BAPE’s position gives lie to the accusation leveled by Richard Sealy MP at the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) meeting in Deacons Road on Sunday night, when he accused BAPE of being a timid organization “devoid of a spine” which is made-up of people who are scared for their jobs.

We have written exhaustively on the issue of Operation Free Flow, better known as the flyover project. We have read hundreds of comments posted to the several flyover topics we have posted on BU and also on BFP. Although many of the comments provide a true insight how ordinary Barbadians feel about the project, several of the comments continue to demonstrate a refusal to separate the issues. It is apparent to BU that several of our frequent commenters have misrepresented the issue of the flyovers by blurring the tender procurement process of the Barbados government and the benefits of this project in terms of relieving traffic congestion. We are fortunate to have sources who have provided information which is not in the public domain; however to protect our sources we are sometimes restricted as to what we can publish.

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Does The Attorney-General Think The Average Barbadian Is Stupid And Cannot Read?

‘Many people doubted that a facility of this size could be completed on time and within budget’.

Barbados Advocate 16th October 2007

‘Last month Attorney-General announced that the facility, designed to house 1,250 inmates would now be completed by the end of January (2007) and not year-end as originally projected’.

Nation 8th October 2006

‘The new prison under construction at Dodds, St. Philip, will not be ready ahead of Cricket World Cup 2007 as originally planned by contractors and Government’.

You can go on, just Google Dodds prison and you will see a whole bunch of stated completion date objectives.

As to the ‘within budget’!

There still not been a satisfactory explanation why the former Attorney-General would mislead Parliament by quoting a figure of $100 million.

Nation 29 June 2005

‘Mottley said Government would have to await the completion of the designs to quantity the finance of the prison, but she estimated it would cost around $100 million’.

‘Meanwhile, sources revealed that the second bid was submitted by a consortium made of Jada Builders, Rotherley Construction, Rayside Construction, C. O. Williams Construction, Williams Industries, FirstCaribbean International Bank, Barbados National Bank and mega-billion dollar British construction firm, Carrilian, which builds and operate prisons in the United Kingdom. That proposal carried a price-tag of approximately $120 million in a 25-year BOLT – build, operate, lease and transfer – arrangement’.

Nation Newspaper

Now I wonder what currency that consortium was quoting in?

Adrian Loveridge

16 October 2007

David Thompson Gives Prime Minister Owen Arthur 30 Days To Start An Investigation Into Hardwood Housing Factory Incorporated Or Clyde Mascoll Will Face No Confidence Motion

cmascoll.jpgDavid J. H Thompson MPuntitled.JPG

The opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP) launched a scathing attack on the credibility and integrity of Clyde Mascoll at a political meeting in Deacons Road last night. All the speakers: Derek Alleyne, Richard Sealy, Michael Lashley, David Estwick, Chris Sinckler, culminating with Leader of the Opposition David Thompson spoke with a single purpose, that is, to destroy the credibility of Clyde Mascoll. The attentive crowd, including yours truly, listened with interest to the different speakers who recollected many positions that Clyde Mascoll once held when he was a member of the DLP. Now, he has sought to distance himself in a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government. The speakers spoke with great emotion at the betrayal that Clyde Mascoll has crossed the floor. Many of them recounted episodes how DLP members including David Thompson recruited Mascoll from his job at the Central Bank where he was very unhappy and they worked to elevate him up the rungs of the party.

The contribution of the night was delivered by David Thompson with the assistance of video aids. Thompson dissected many events which surrounds the creation of a company called Hardwood Factory Housing Incorporated. Thompson in a hard hitting delivery highlighted several wrong doings since the establishment of Hardwood, a company registered in November 2006.

Here are some of the observations made my Thompson to a large Deacons Road crowd:

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Jonathon Danos's Former Employer, Mabey's & Johnson Suspended From Flyover Project~Accused Of Using Poor Quality Steel, What Steel Are We Using On The Barbados Flyover Project Mr. Danos?

British contractor suspended over Iloilo flyover project

By David Israel Sinay
Visayas Bureau
Last updated 04:20pm (Mla time) 10/10/2007

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has suspended the British contractor of a flyover project in Iloilo City due to alleged discrepancies in some portions of the project, its central office has said.

The DPWH reached the decision after it found out that the contractor for the P400-million project, Mabey and Johnson Ltd., failed to comply with the project’s specifications, including the required strength of reinforced bars of the piers, said Rolando Asis, DPWH regional director.

The piers hold the columns supporting the flyover structure.

Asis said that the contractor failed to meet the requirement of the flyover’s tensile strength and yielding point of “Grade 60.”

READ MORE: Inquirer Philippine

Earlier on, we read a report from Hill-Carnes, the engineering company contracted by 3S Barbados SRL to carry out geological work on the integrity of the foundation of the flyovers and four- lane highway. How convenient it seems that for months Barbadians have been clamoring for information about the project, and at this late hour snippets of information are starting to slowly roll-out. Let’s get down to brasstacks: Barbadians want to see a copy of the report Hill-Carnes, and NOW!

Bizzy Williams, please confirm the grade steel you intend to use in the piers on Barbados flyovers. Barbadians want to know, NOW!

Question, Questions, Questions. Barbadians want Answers, Answers, Answers.

Previous Stories
Barbadians Demand to See The April, 2006 Drawings Detailing The Operations Free Flow Project NOW The Flyovers

Media House Takes Another Feeble Left Jab At The 3S Affair~Come On Vivian-Anne, There Is The Right HAND!!!

Clyde Mascoll Needs Only Three Minutes To Do Damage Control On 3S Barbados SRL

Nation Newspaper Finally Awakes From A Deep Slumber By Publishing The 3S Barbados SRL, Jonathan Danos Story ~ Can They Stay Awake?

The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth About The Operations Free Flow Project In Barbados. Will It Ever Be Told?

Operations Free Flow Should Be Stopped NOW Pending A Further Geo-technical Study Media Houses In Barbados In Collusion With Government To Suppress News, Press Freedom Under Threat ~ The Voices Of The People Must Be Heard

Gline Clarke And Rihanna Tell Their Supporters To “Shut Up And Drive”
OPERATION Free Flow, Barbados Road Network Infrastructure Improvement Project (Flyover Project) To Triple In Cost From USD60 Million To USD180 Million~Gline Clarke And The Government Of Barbados Owe Barbadians A Big Explanation

ABC Highway Cost Triples Or More

More Money To Be Spent On Grantley Adams International Airport ~ Rudy Don't Forget That The Radar Needs Fixing Also!

Further Expansion Is In The Works For The Grantley Adams International Airport

Friday, 05 October 2007

Acting Minister of Tourism, Senator Rudy Grant, says the managing company GAIA Incorporated will shortly be requesting proposals for the work. This comes after a recent 150 million-dollar upgrade. Mr. Grant says the departure terminal is one of the areas which need to be expanded. He says this became necessary to increase capacity so soon after the recent upgrade, because of a study by UK firm British Aerospace, which underestimated the growth of passenger traffic in Barbados.

Source: CBC


Barbadians reading the newspaper and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) blog this weekend would have witnessed, for the first time, the BLP mouthpiece recognizing the existence of Barbados Underground (BU) and Barbados Free Press (BFP). Although we don’t agree with their assessment about the role which BU is playing to bring information to the Barbadians, and this can be easily verified by examining our articles, we respect their right to defend their opinion. We are sorry to disappoint the team over at the BLP again because this article will be critical of how the government has managed the expansion at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).

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3S Barbados SRL To Meet With The PEOPLE Of Barbados To Discuss 'The Construction Of Flyovers On The ABC Highway' ~ We Hope Barbadians Attend In Large Numbers

deep_found.jpgBU readers are reminded that 3S Barbados SRL, in association with the Government of Barbados, will be holding two town-hall meetings today, October 5, 2007, and Saturday, October 6, 2007. Click here to read the details. The town-hall meetings are a requirement by the Town Planning Department as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, which was conducted in 2006. Barbados Underground urge Barbadians who can make it to the Samuel Jackman Polytechnic on October 5, 2007 – 6PM, and The Manor Lodge Complex on October 6, 2007 – 4.30PM to do so for two reasons: 1.) We consider it our civic duty and 2.) Attendance will help us to have intelligent discussions on the subject of the Operation Free Flow.

Our anonymous friend to BU and BFP posted the following quote to assist people who will be attending the town-hall meetings. We suspect that the scope of the meetings will fail to address cost issues because it is being promoted as a discussion about environmental impact assessment issues. However, if it is possible to find-out about the 3S Barbados SRL, April 2006 drawings of the Operation Free Flow Project, we should try to do so. Our sources indicate this is a vital piece of the puzzle, which we must expose at all cost.

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Is The Town Planning Office Of Barbados Delivering Its Mandate?


It should be obvious to BU readers that there are some pillar issues which we write about repeatedly. We believe that our continued focus might just be enough to create much needed change. One of the pillar issues is the role of Town Planning department to ensure that Barbados efficiently develops its physical infrastructure to the benefit of current and future generations. As we move around Barbados, our layman’s observation  suggests that Barbados is being developed in a very ad hoc manner.  For example, our view of the sea is being suffocated; chemical plants are being built in large residential districts; office buildings are being built in congested areas; land use is being changed based on economic and political considerations with environmental factors lagging far behind. Check it out with a critical eye the next time you move around Barbados.  The lack of planning is more apparent if you have traveled to developed countries.   We make the point about developed countries, because it appears to be the latest political buzz with a general election imminent, and we hear our government politicos trying to attain developed nation status in quick order.

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Media House Takes Another Feeble Left Jab At The 3S Affair~Come On Vivian-Anne, There Is The Right HAND!!!


Source: Nation Newspaper

It looks like Mascoll is the appointed fall guy on the 3S project. What else can we think given his incoherent pronouncements on the contentious issue so far? If we did not know better, we would have thought that all the other Ministers in the cabinet refused to speak on the 3S matter, in the absence of the convalescing Gline Clarke; or that the Prime Minister Owen Arthur has deemed that Mascoll is expendable.

What do you think? Could it be that Mascoll is being groomed to succeed Owen Arthur?

Today, we listened to an interesting exchange on the call-in program hosted by Dennis Johnson. The caller questioned the role of the media in Barbados and asked Dennis Johnson for an explanation of the role of the media. Dennis Johnson responded by saying that the media should be charged with “informing, educating and entertaining the public” and he lamented the prevailing impression that the media was more concerned with public relations (This is a precis of what we thought we heard). Thank you Dennis Johnson for making the point which BU have been trying to make for so long, and for logging your support for the “agitators” who operate outside the Fourth Estate (Media). One thing we can say about Dennis is that he speaks passionately about what he believes. Others should try to do the same.

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Barbadians Demand to See The April, 2006 Drawings Detailing The Operations Free Flow Project NOW The Flyovers


“I’m disappointed with the direction the discussion on the “Flyovers” project is taking. It seems as though everyone is focused on the increases in the scope of works resulting in significant cost increases. Everyone has taken the word of George Sidall that there has been a significant increase in the scope of works. I have pointed out on several occasions that the scope of works for the widening section of the contract has not increased significantly as shown on the April 2006 drawings. The increase in cost is as a result either of the increase in cost of the flyovers or an error in the original cost. A significant increase in cost for the flyovers will call into question the feasibility of constructing these structures. Can this stand up to a rigorous cost/benefit analysis. We should soon know the true cost of the flyovers.”

Posted by an Anonymous Commenter of BU

We have our friend, Anonymous, who by his/her writing has hinted that he or she knows a lot more than is being revealed for the moment. The point the commenter is making has to do with the scope of the work which should be reflected in the 3S April Drawings, and used in determining the cost of the Operations Free Flow project. The subsequent change to the cost of the project which has been fed into the government’s propaganda machinery must be evaluated against this background. Our anonymous friend seems to be unequivocally stating that the increase in cost of the project could have resulted from one of two factors or both:

  • Flawed costing submitted by 3S on their original proposal to government or
  • There has been a significant increase in the cost of the flyovers for whatever reason.

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China State Construction Involved In A Bridge Which Collapses In Vietnam~60 People Dead


BU readers know that we try to discuss international issues which we think may have some connection to what we are doing in Barbados. We read this story about a bridge collapsing in Vietnam and killing possibly 60 people. You may ask, why is this story of interest to BU? The bridge was being built by our friends China State Construction. Barbadians know that this same company is responsible for constructing several new buildings in Barbados over the years. We have no issue with China State Construction, but we have highlighted this incident because of the discussion Barbadians have been having about the quality of steel which is being imported from China to supply major building projects in Barbados. In a recent radio programme, we heard engineer Grenville Phillips III, expressing concern that the quality of steel being used to construct many buildings across Barbados is of the banned variety.  It was further confirmed that the steel which we import from T&T, and which it is alleged Mike Pemberton et al have imported from China, have questionable ductility and should be relegated to the building of roads and other similar structures.

We think that this is one of those stories which should encourage Barbadians to appreciate the importance of building standards.  


Operations Free Flow (Flyovers) Stinks ~ No Tender Issued For Flyover Project!

THE COST OF OPERATION FREEFLOW, the project aimed at easing congestion along the island’s main traffic arteries, cannot be regarded as an “over-run”. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Clyde Mascoll, said yesterday on Brasstacks SundayVoice of Barbados that the highway project had become “a hot political issue because the impression had been given that there has been a major change in the cost resulting from inefficiency”.

Last month, an executive of Structural Steel Solutions (3S), the company contracted to build the traffic busting fly-overs, said that the scope of work on the multi-million dollar Barbados Road Network Infrastructure Improvement Project had increased three-fold – hence cost would rise. “What has happened is that the scope of works on the ABC Highway has been changed, so therefore it has adjusted the project. Initially the Government was only contemplating having four lanes at the entry to the roundabouts and therefore the entire highway was not supposed to be a four-lane highway,” Mascoll said.

Source: Nation Newspaper

gclarke.jpg We continue to examine the amazing revelation by Junior Minister of Finance Clyde Mascoll on a radio program on Sunday (16 September), when he reacted to the controversy about the 200+ increase in cost of the flyover project made public by 3S at a press conference recently. Mascoll in a rebuttal made the following statement, “3S Barbados said that the work has increased three-fold and that was interpreted to mean that the cost is three-fold but that is not so…snip.”  At BU, we have resigned ourselves that this is an issue which will be discussed only in the blogosphere; traditional media remains hamstrung to discuss the issue. We include Her Majesty’s Opposition which appear to be smittened with laryngitis. The only official statement which we have had from government so far in the form of the Mascoll statement should force conscientious Barbadians to ask some probing questions.

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Nation Newspaper Finally Awakes From A Deep Slumber By Publishing The 3S Barbados SRL, Jonathan Danos Story ~ Can They Stay Awake?

Just over a week is the time it has taken for the Nation newspaper to break the story which Barbados Underground and Barbados Free Press published last week. The fact that the Nation and its counterparts in the media in Barbados refuse to acknowledge the blogs and other social media is a reflection of their own ignorance and insecurity. In the BU household not one journalist can be found, however our mantra is simple, news is news and it does not matter the source provided it can be cross checked. We have been very deliberate in the stories that we publish and most of our content can stand-up to scrutiny. We admit that traditional media has the hurdle of a more restrictive environment in which they have to operate. This is exacerbated by the litigious climate which exists around the world today. Having said that we feel the passive approach to journalism in Barbados where the media Houses are afraid to test matters in court if they believe in a news story is partly responsible for the arrogance and contempt which the Prime Minister and his troops have for media practitioners in Barbados.

How else can you explain Barney Lynch walking out of a live program on radio?

How else can you explain the Prime Minister not pressured to give regular press conferences?

How else can you explain the reaction when a Prime Minister can call Publishers at the different media houses in Barbados and tell them about their mother and fathers when articles not to liking appear?

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A Clear Danger-Where Is The Town Planner Part II

On 08 September 2007 we brought this story which was submitted by a concerned citizen about builders doing construction on The Brownes property in Hastings, Christ Church who were violating a Town Planning ordinance.

Here is a reminder:

The concerned citizen submitted a note today to give us an update:

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your prompt response in publishing the matter relating to construction at The Brownes. After a number of weeks in the state shown in the photographs, the protruding gutters have now been cut to be extensions of approximately 6 inches. While this removes most of the danger of direct physical injury, one wonders whether its is really acceptable in 2007 for run-off water to be allows to fall on to a public pavement from such a height as this will only result in pedestrians taking refuse on the carriageway with vehicular traffic, when it rains. While such situation exist elsewhere on relics of the past, in the case of new construction we need to adhere to good standard of town planning and public safety as we continue working to upgrading our mistakes of the past, as replacements and renovation takes place.

My initial complaint was in fact the last a list of a number issues neighbours has had with the construction activity there, which included:

  1. The dumping of rubble and dust form three and four storeys above ground level without the use of a shoot. As a result, several households in vicinity have had to endure an infiltration of dust, for several weeks.

  2. Construction activities including the drilling of stone work and concrete about a road way resulting in splitters of stone striking passing vehicles and posing dangers to pedestrians.

While calls were made to some government departments one saw no evidence of any action was taken to address these issues. They were in fact solved only by the conclusion of the work rather the implementation of any best practices. The foregoing left one to wonder who is responsible of administering the standards (if there are any) under which construction activity takes place on a multi-storey buildings. Is it the case, that such standards are only required in Bridgetown? In this case, there is well traverse public road in the shadow of the building.

Barbados Underground, I thank you


BU applaud this citizen.

Previous Story

A Clear Danger-Where Is The Town Planner

The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth About The Operations Free Flow Project In Barbados. Will It Ever Be Told?

flyover.jpgIt is the eighth day since we broke the story about the Jonathan Danos, 3s Barbados SRL, Barbados government affair and still not a murmur from the media houses in Barbados. We have heard reports of news from countries around the region and the world but the one story which is pertinent to Barbados, the media have taken a collective decision to refuse to carry the story. History, we believe will record this moment as one of the darkest periods of news coverage in Barbados. Our sources at a leading radio station tell us that most of the moderators on the call-in programs are aware of this story; they too remain silent.

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Operations Free Flow Should Be Stopped NOW Pending A Further Geo-technical Study


The events uncovered in the past week has raised more questions about the flyover project in Barbados. We are sorry to disappoint our readers but here we go into Week Two unabated with this story. Coming out of all the research to date about Operation Free Flow aka Flyovers, an interesting nugget of information has surfaced. One of our commenters (Adrian) has picked up on it as well. Surprisingly, we have not heard it mentioned elsewhere. The US company Hills-Carnes Engineering contracted by 3S Barbados SRL to perform foundation testing for the piers (supporting pillars for the flyovers) has indicated that “the limestone rock in this geologic region varies from competent to highly fractured and decomposed. The depths or competent rock ranged from 4 to 30 feet below existing grades.” The good thing is, if we can say so about the recent tragedies which Barbados has suffered lately, it has caused passive Barbadians to begin asking questions. Every where we go in Barbados, we can hear about the existence of caves and deep holes which were previously not mentioned.

The structural group and the geo-technical divisions are currently working on an extensive flyover bridge system designed to relieve traffic congestion in the southern and western sectors of a highway surrounding Bridgetown, Barbados. Our client, 3S Structural Steel Solutions, is constructing approximately 3,100 meters of elevated roadway supported on ninety-five (95) piers spaced up to thirty four (34) meters apart. HCEA team members include: Mike Johnson, P.E., Paul Eeichert, Rob Yonkers, P.E., and Avon McNeil. Rob Yonkers was in Barbados for the past several weeks monitoring the drilling operation and compiling field data necessary to complete the foundation designs that will support the piers. The data obtained during the field investigation will be input into SHAFT and LPILE programs to develop the design criteria for the drilled shafts required to support the structure. Geologically, the island of Barbados is the only emergent peak of the Barbados ridge complex.

It lies above the active subduction zone between the Caribbean and South American plates. The results from Rob’s investigation indicate that the limestone rock in this geologic region varies from competent to highly fractured and decomposed. The depths or competent rock ranged from 4 to 30 feet below existing grades. The challenge for HCEA is to design a caisson system with consistent diameters and uniform reinforcing steel bar cage configurations so that construction time and costs are minimized. HCEA is part of an international construction team that has been assembled for this high profile project. The local government is anxious to complete the project and if successful, will likely implement similar flyover systems in other sectors of the island that are prone to chronic traffic congestion problems. To Rob’s dismay, (he can’t wait to go back!) he is likely to spend additional time in Barbados on future projects.

Source: Hills-Carnes Report On Flyover Project In Barbados


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Adrian Loveridge Questions The Local Media Houses Regarding Their Deafening Silence About The Jonathan Laslo Danos 3S (Barbados SRL) Affair

All Barbadians know that Adrian Loveridge who is a Barbadian citizen has been one never afraid to speak-out. It is something that all Barbadians should take note of if our democracy is to be protected.


The Daily Nation

The Barbados Advocate


On the 11th May 2007 in the Royal Courts of Justice (London), Jonathan Laszlo DANOS, President of 3S (Barbados) SRL, the company currently engaged by the Government of Barbados to widen the ABC Highway and build overpasses was charged with fraud and conspiracy by his former employers, Mabey and Johnson Ltd.

3S (Barbados) SRL, contention was that they had gained valuable experience while constructing Flyovers in Panama. According to Robert Capurro, Director of Sales-Latin America & Caribbean-Mabey and Johnson Ltd., “Mabey & Johnson has supplied a number of steel flyovers to Panama since 1997. As far as we are aware, no other company has supplied or completed such steel flyovers in that country.”

Bearing in mind the Project Manager of 3S (Barbados) SRL, George Siddall, recently announced that the estimated cost of the work undertaken was expected to rise from US$60 million to US$180 million, it is difficult to understand why your publication/station has not carried this story.

Adrian Loveridge

Gline Clarke And Rihanna Tell Their Supporters To "Shut Up And Drive"

We published the story of the announcement by 3S of overruns on the Operation Free Flow Project better known as the Flyovers last Sunday. The news that the project has widened in scope and resulted in the cost increasing by an estimated 300% is enough to make the ordinary taxpayer swoon. As General Elections in Barbados draw nearer, BU will focus more on some critical issues which we feel so strongly about. This will be one such issue which we will keep in the public eye because there is the glaring evidence of ineptitude and as Serenader the Calysonian would sing “Steel In Deh”.

Keep your emails coming and at the appropriate time, we will put the information out there for the public to decide.

The video above is a simulation of what the highway project is expected to look like at its completion, hopefully in late 2008.

OPERATION Free Flow, Barbados Road Network Infrastructure Improvement Project (Flyover Project) To Triple In Cost From USD60 Million To USD180 Million~Gline Clarke And The Government Of Barbados Owe Barbadians A Big Explanation


From left: President of 3S Barbados SRL, Jonathan Danos, Minister of Public Works and Transport Gline Clarke, and Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Clyde Mascoll in a light moment after the launch. (Pictures by Sandy Pitt)

On August 10, 2007 BU carried the story Legacy of Debt. The issue of the debt burden of Barbados should start to concern Barbadians. We agree that that the government in order to achieve its “vision” of repositioning the economy to one of generating more foreign exchange the infrastructure of Barbados i.e. roads, transportation, ports of entry, health etc must be upgraded. Most Barbadians we think understand that this expansion is required__after all we are a literate people!

Last night Barbadians were jolted by the revelation coming via Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that 3S Barbados SRL, the company contracted to build the Flyovers and widen the ABC Highway, because of an increase in the scope of works Barbadians could see the cost of the Flyover Project possibly increasing to USD180 million, thats BDS360 million, an overrun of BDS240 million! BU got giddy after we wrote the numbers.

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Michael Pembertom Calls Sir Roy Trotman A Liar In A Press Release Issued Yesterday

images.jpgThe discussion continues about the labor practices engaged by Cinnamon 88 the local company set-up to construct the Clearwater Development led by Barbadian and British businessman Michael Pemberton. Here is the lengthy Press Release issued by Michael Pemberton yesterday in response to Sir Roy’s public statement that locals were applying for jobs on the project and there is no current need to import Chinese labor.

(Thanks to the source for the information)





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If Michael Pemberton Is As Upset As We Know He Is With Owen Arthur, What Next?


IN BARBADOS, the respected British hotelier and developer Mike Pemberton is tending 5,000 palms in an inland nursery.
All Quotes Taken From the Property Times (Thanks to the Source)


Super-villas that will cater for pickiest of millionaires

All those Barbadians who think that Michael Pemberton does not care about the trees he slaughtered “think again.” He has 5000 palms in a plant nursery somewhere waiting to transform the landscape of that property formerly known as Paradise and then all will be forgotten and he will be forgiven. A government Senator explained, “trees cannot stand in the way of a mega development, Barbadians need to get over it!”

After three decades on the island, and with the prestigious Glitter Bay and Royal Westmoreland projects behind him, Pemberton considers no detail too lowly in ensuring the transformation of the last, great site on the bewitching Platinum Coast.

Despite the swipes taken by Barbadians in recent weeks at the filthy rich British businessman, he has done what the government of Barbados has been encouraging other foreign investors to do — put his money where is mouth is by investing in several properties in Barbados since his arrival on the island. The luxurious hotel properties of Glitter Bay and Royal Westmoreland are examples of his handy work. The man has not been idle! To those Barbadians who would criticize Pemberton, BU ask how do we attract the foreign investment which people like him bring to the party?

Sam Mahon, of Bajan Property Services, says: “Ninety per cent of this business comes from British buyers, or people exiled there for tax reasons: a lot of our bread is coming from the City. But Americans need the comfort of a brand like Four Seasons and we expect to see more of them now.”

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Has Michael Pemberton Issued A Warning To The Government Of Barbados?

Michael Pemberton and Robin Paterson, executive directors of developers Cinnamon 88, told the SUNDAY SUN the delay in starting the four seasons project was costing millions of dollars. Pemberton said while the resort needed a minimum of 200 workers to have a viable start, by December they would need 500, and then 800 at the peak of construction mid-next year.


“We are all frustrated. We can’t start those who want to work because we have to start everyone at the same time.” He said the delays were resulting in bad publicity for Barbados, and eroding the confidence of Four Seasons in setting up a brand here.

Source: Nation



Mike Pemberton from all reports is a man with a lot of money and he has significant investments in Barbados. His attempt to get the Four Seasons hotel project up an running, on the blighted former Butch Stewart owned property has been well documented. His recent PR gaff by going public that he intended to use Chinese labour has triggered a political melee which Pemberton has stated is the cause of his project being two months behind. It is no secret that the issue of immigrant labour (dealt with in many BU articles) for Barbadians is one which causes emotions to spark. The Nation article reports that Robin Patterson, Pemberton’s partner confirmed that:-

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Barbados & Caribbean Governments Continue To Be Reactive In The face Of The Chinese Invasion: Where Is The Policy To Regulate The Large Influx Of Foreign Labor?~Here Comes Sir Roy Trotman Our Knight In Shining Armour

We have done several stories on the concern which we have with the ad hoc approach by the Barbados government regarding its lack of a policy towards immigrant labor. Of particular concern has been the inclination and ease which companies in Barbados have been allowed to bring Chinese and other labor into Barbados. It seems that the concerns of ordinary Barbadians which have been to a large degree ignored by government and other non governmental agencies are being responded to, but in a token way.

We wonder why?

Does it have something to do with the fact that the international media has picked up this story and our friend Sir Roy now realizes that there are some embarrassing times ahead if he stays mum on the issue? It is well documented that the Chinese are paid very low wages comparative to our Caribbean laborers. The interaction of Chinese and Guyanese recruitment in Barbados in recent years is starting to reflect in some social fall-out. Two days ago the Inter Press Service (IPS) did a feature on the growing problem of Chinese immigrant labor which Barbados and other Caribbean governments are experiencing. IPS quoted Sir Roy as saying:

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Building Contractors A Dime A Dozen In Barbados

MORE THAN 300 companies listed as contractors with the Urban Development Commission (UDC), have been purged from the list mainly because of shoddy work and incorrect or “not in service” telephone numbers. The action was taken after the UDC board ordered MORE THAN 300 COMPANIES listed as contractors with the Urban Development Commission (UDC), have been purged from the list mainly because of shoddy work and incorrect or “not in service” telephone numbers.

Source: Nation News

Recently Barbadians witnessed the sanitizing of a “list” of 300 companies which were previously approved by government to benefit from building contracts. BU is heartened that Sir Henry Forde would have finally come to the realization that the UDC must make things more efficient. Barbadians have had many concerns over the years about goings-ons at the UDC. Many examples in the media and by word of mouth are well documented. Some of the 300 hundred companies which we know of lead us to conclude that that the government with an election on the horizon had no choice but “throw-out some dirty water to avoid smelling stink down the road”.

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Rayside Construction Company:Why Did This Respected Black Owned Business Fail?


A search on Google of Rayside Construction generated the following error "Error: Access is Denied

It was reported in the media last week that Senator Bynoe of “proppa pork” fame has commissioned a book which is scheduled to be released later this year and will examine the role government has played in the demise of several black businesses over the years. BU looks forward to the book launch because despite the boast of a wonderful educational system many of our black owned businesses are failing because the second generation of family appears to be more attracted to the Board rooms of BS&T and the like.

BU thought that we would focus on one such black owned business which has fallen from its pinnacle. We all remember in the 70s and 80s there were some very competitive battles between Rayside Construction and “COW” Construction. Do you remember that time when COW was not awarded a government contract which went to Rayside and he took the government to court[because of Don Blackman’s comment) and won? Those were the halcyon days when the black owned construction company headed by Keith Rayside stood tall and was a symbol of success which Barbadians felt proud to talk about. As a predominantly black nation we felt a sense of pride derived from when there was construction work to be had there was Rayside Construction Company to stop COW from getting it all. We felt as black people we were making strides.

The once mighty company in 2005 became so burdened with debt that it had to be acquired by CLICO, a private Trinidadian conglomerate.

What many Barbadians are asking is where did it all go wrong for Keith Rayside?

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