BVI News

Disaster-resistant NEOC building will house gov’t in event of catastrophe

3-dimensional renderings of the new NEOC building.

The new National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC)/DDM building – which workmen will start constructing next April or May – will include a section that can be immediately transformed to accommodate government if another catastrophic event hits the BVI.

“If we are impacted as we were with a ‘Category 5’ that creates the level of destruction like Irma or Maria, we will have occupancy levels on the top floor of that facility for the critical services in government to continue to operate,” explained Director of the DDM, Sharleen DaBreo.

The three-level building is being designed to be disaster resistant and self-sustainable with backup power, water, and telecommunication faculties.

Plans for the building will also provide for the inclusion of an emergency shelter, Dabreo said.

“Once we’re there, the building is supposed to accommodate us for a period of time without us needing to have access to external services,” she said; noting that DDM staff will occupy the top floor of the facility during ‘regular’ operations.

The second floor will effectively be the heart of the building known as the emergency operations centre.

This floor will consist of an operations room, a multimedia room, communications room, a breakout room, and will even have facilities for showering.

“The lower portion of the building is going to occupy the contingency stocks that we have for the territory. It’s important that we have a safe place to store them because you know what happens when you have flooding and hurricanes,” DaBreo said during a community to discuss the project last week.

The facility, which will replace the old DDM building at McNamara on Tortola, will also have improved parking facilities.

Coupled with infrastructural designs that will reduce damage from seismic activity and 220 miles-per-hour winds, the building will also be fitted with a fire suppression system comprising automatic fire sprinklers, a fire hose cabinet, and portable fire extinguishers.

The NEOC facility is being constructed in accordance with the 2018 International Building Code and will be completed within 16 to 18 months of the start of construction, Puerto Rican designers have said.

Architectural designs are expected to be completed by December.

The project is being funded through the Caribbean Development Bank and is projected to cost between four to five million dollars.


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  1. money tree says:

    This already sounds like it will be another project that runs over budget.

    Like 13
  2. Anonymous says:

    Ok so we are recording the budget for this building to be $4-5 million. When the highly skilled (laughing) and crooked contractors and government officials get finished the end cost will be $15 million with no accounting. Anyone want to take bets on this? Oh, one more thing, who is capable on the island to insure the new building meets the International Building Code? Anybody in the Territory able to read and understand the code?

    Like 21
    Dislike 2
  3. Faith says:

    Are you capable of anything but to be judgemental?

    Like 4
    Dislike 4
    • Anonymous says:

      Is the Territory able to do any business in the sunshine for all to see. Will the Territory take bids to do the project and take the lowest capable bid regardless of where the contractor is from? Or, will it be another typical BVI contract done behind closed doors, with everyone’s hands outstretched palms up. And when the contractor runs out of money don’t hold him to his contract, just give him more. You see you can’t hold someone to a contract when he has information to share with the world about those involved in the deal. Hospital and pier park come to mind

      Like 12
      Dislike 2
    • Anonymous says:

      Dear Faith. You ask if I can be anything but judgemental. I’ll answer your question with a question. How many times and how many projects are going to be handled behind closed doors before people say they have had enough. It’s the complaisant the likes of you which allow the crooks and theives flourish. Perhaps you’re in on the deals.

  4. Kenneth Dreger says:

    If that photo is a design of the building you are in trouble already! Hard angular surfaces and areas like those shown in the photo with balconies are prone to catch high winds! It would make sense to talk to the design people and ask them to “Round” out the building and all the flat surfaces need to have a curve in them thus deflecting any wind. Remember when your power and public services go down you still need some method to have a private sewer system for those inside the building !

    Like 10
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    • Thank you says:

      Mr.Dreger Thank you for your insightful comments. They will be passed on to the Engineers.

    • From DDM says:

      The balconies have been moved in the updated drawings. We will forward your comments to the designers. Thank you for taking the time to provide this useful information.

  5. Good says:

    The project is being funded through the Caribbean Development Bank and is projected to cost between four to five million dollars.

    Well at least we know it will be done by a qualified contractor and on budget based on CDB’s track record.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  6. Lodger says:

    If it wont start until April 2019 and will take at least 18 months, it will be 2022 at least before it is functioning.

  7. Solid says:

    This is needed and it is an excellent iniative.

  8. Trix says:

    The building needs a safe room at the basement level. With the Hospital at 100 million and this building at say 5 million, the real estate property value in McNamara will benefit most.
    The road network around the hospital and McNamara needs reengineering to allow a third lane for turning and a centerline to mark the lanes properly especially for fire and safety.

    New Virgin Islands Government

  9. Next says:

    A building or more to accomodate government business and offices.

    Current millions of dollars now being spent on rent could be redirected into maintainace. As if they don’t know that already!!

    Government self shelter, puttung it simply, is self explanatory and should become the next paradigm towards self sustaining development.

  10. E. Leonard says:

    The VI, like its sister regional countries, lie in a hurricane-proned zone; hurricanes, especially major hurricanes, are destructive, disruptive, life altering……etc tropical events. Consequently, public, eg, Emergency Operations Center (EOC)……….etc, as well as private, facilities must be designed, constructed, maintained and operated to prevent or minimize damages.

    Undoubtedly, against this backdrop, a well-designed, constructed, maintained, operated and functional EOC is a critical facility. An EOC plays a critical and vital role before, during and after a hurricane or other disasters. For example, immediately after the passage of a hurricane, it should be the lead agency in coordinating rescue and other supporting services.

    Moreover, not sure if the rendering in the article is the actual rendering of the proposed NEOC. Thus, I will limit my comments to some thoughts that should be integrated in the design to prevent and/or minimize wind induced damages. Simply, a number of factors (best practices) go into the design of a facility in a hurricane proned zone. These factors include height of facility, roof slope, roof overhangs, location/topography, wind/building interaction (aerodynmanics), windward/leeward porosity, building irregularities(porches, bay windows, dormers…etc), pressurization/depressuration (positive/ negative pressure), types of exposure, material quality, load path…….etc.

    Further, a well-designed building poorly constructed is a disaster; it is important that the EOC construction fully meets the design intent.

    Increasingly, perhap, due to impact of global warning, the focus now is not solely on wind load but also on storm surge and flooding, ie, flooding resulting Hurricane Florence in South and North Carolina, US. As such, just curious why the critical contingency stocks are being stored on the lower levels? What is the proposed period for self sustainability?

    • E.Leonard says:

      Addition to comment…… In the design of the EOC, there must be a balanced among aesthetics, liveability and functionality. The building envelope must be designed and constructed strong enough to resist the wind load on it.

      Openings in the building envelope, ie, windows, doors…….etc are some weak areas that increase the porosity of walls, ie, front, sides and rear that can result in pressurizing of the interior that can cause uplifting of roofs and collapsing of walls. Keeping the wind out must be a top priority to avoid pressurizing the building.

      To the maximum extent practical and reasonable, employ value engineering to look at opportunities to reduce the number of building envelope openings. Protecting occupants, maintaining structural stability, enhancing sustainability……etc must trump aesthetics.

      • Contrarian says:

        @E. Leonard,look like you want the NEOC to look like a big, ugly and depressing box. lol. Who wants to go work in an ugly box. Good building aesthetics and external views boosts morale, increase pride and enhance productivity. people need to look outside and see the sun and vegetation. Temper theory with reality and practicality. Wake up and smell the coffee.

  11. RealPol says:

    “For example, immediately after the passage of a hurricane, it should be the lead agency in coordinating rescue and other supporting services.” Real talk. The coordination after Irma was dysfunctional; unity of command was severely lacking. Predisaster is the time to outline the who, when, where, why and how.

  12. respect says:

    maybe fix roads, house homeless, and build sewers and water delivery before you go for 5-star lodging for the folks that failed at such state-level projects for decades . .

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