BVI News

Premier promises improvements to BVI’s building legislation

Improvements to the territory’s building legislation are being promised for the British Virgin Islands.

Premier Andrew Fahie gave that indication as he announced the appointment of a new Planning Authority Board recently.

His promise of improved building legislation was made against the backdrop that the territory would need to embrace new technologies and methods in order to properly build for the future.

“Hopefully, in the upcoming sessions of the House of Assembly, among several changes that must be made include the merging of the Building Authority Board and the Town and Country Planning Board. We will also have to look at how we can strengthen the enforcement aspect of our building and construction regulations,” Fahie stated.

“Your government is anxious to see a solid foundation in place for moving the territory in that direction and we are looking forward to the amendments to be made to the existing legislation in this respect,” he added.

Premier Fahie further said that one of the tasks of the board will be to educate the public on the use of these technologies, which can be used to make smarter building choices.

“I look forward to the new [Planning Authority] board being proponents of the application of green technology and smart technology as well. This may require a review of our legislative framework; for instance, in the area of building codes,” he explained.

Fahie further stressed on the need for the BVI to take a leadership role in the development and application of green building technologies.

“This means harmonising designs – whether it is for public infrastructure or residential and commercial buildings – with natural elements such as wind for cooling and ventilation, or solar for lighting and heating.”

“It means building more energy-efficient structures that not only consume less energy but they waste less energy, and they contribute to lowering adverse environmental impacts if not eliminating them entirely,” Fahie stated.

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12 Comments

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  1. vip heckler says:

    MICRO MANAGEMENT a recipe for disaster

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  2. A thought says:

    Why don’t you buy a copy of the South Florida building code. No need to reinvent the wheel.

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    • Jost says:

      Have you actually read the SF code? If you knew anything about construction you would know that it was created after hurricane Andrew and the damage to places like Homestead.Unfortunately most homes in Florida are built by huge companies churning out many thousands of cheap homes. They were reported to have used their influence and power to water down the regs so their costs were not affected. The result is some of the lowest standards you can find. In some respects the way most homes are built in BVI is superior to what is required in Florida. That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement but don’t look to Florida for a solution.

  3. E. Leonard says:

    The VI lies in the hurricane belt and are highly vulnerable to the ravages of hurricanes; there is a high probability of a major hurricane (Cat 3 and above) hitting the VI every year during season that runs officially from 01 June to 30 November. With the increase of green house gases( CO2, Methane, Nitrous Oxide) surrounding the earth and resulting global warming, hurricanes are occurring more frequent and more severe, ie, monster hurricanes Irma and Maria. Hurricanes pose a significant risk to property and people, resulting in costly property damages and potential injuries and loss of life. The damages resulting from hurricanes can be mitigated with proper design and construction.

    Moreover, protecting life and property in that order is job 1. However, any legislation to mitigate damages must be practical, reasonable, affordable and enforceable. Legislation sitting in binders (well they are now on a local server(s) or on iCloud) on shelves makes good book ends but not useful if not enforced. Building designs must be effectively reviewed and construction inspected for conformance with current policies, procedures and standards.

    Buildings must not only be designed for wind protection but also for storm surge and tidal activity. Like wind, storm surge can damage property and pose a risk to life. Weak areas on a facility/building includes roofs and openings (windows and doors); these systems need strengthening. Once the roof goes further interior destruction results. Openings must be structurally sound enough to resist the force of the wind and keep the wind out. Once wind gets in, the roof more than likely goes and the interior destruction accelerates.

    Batten down the hatches when a storm is approaching; plywood or other material can be used to shutter windows and doors. Another reason for shuttering windows and doors is protection from flying missiles; wind picks up loose and unsecured debris turning them into missiles. All loose debris should be secured.

    Further, undoubtedly, rebuilding criteria should not be the same as pre-Irma and Maria. The new criteria must include sustainability, resilience, green technology……..etc. Additionally, residences and other facilities that will be used as ride out shelters should have a “safe room” preferably in the interior of the building.

    Moreover, government should develop a pre-disaster mitigation (PDM) Plan to lessen the impact of disaster(s), avoiding repeated expenses for the same damages. Government should construct dome shelters throughout the territory to house first responders and other essential personnel. They can normally be used as admin spaces and as shelter during a hurricane. Miami-Dade and Brevard counties Hurricane guide can be used as a model.

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    • School of Hard Knock Engineer(SHKE) says:

      Agree that building roofs and openings are weak systems. A number of roofs damaged or lifted off with the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Rafters, trusses…….etc must be soundly attached to the beams, sheathings to rafters and rafters and covering (shingles, galvanize, tiles) to sheathings. Further, shuttering windows and doors are not taken as seriously as it should. Property owners take a nonchalant attitude to boarding up at their own risk; take boarding up seriously. Leaving a window open on the leeward side is not an effective strategy; it is a better strategy to securely and strongly batten down the hatches. The science does not support the latter.

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      • Obvious says:

        You are obviously not an engineer in BVI (or shoudn’t be). Nobody with any sense uses roof tiles and shingles here. They can blow off easily and can injure people. It’s lunacy.
        Also if “The science does not support the latter.” then the former must be your recommendation and you said that “Leaving a window open on the leeward side is not an effective strategy”.
        Make your mind up.

        • SHKE says:

          @Obvious, galvanize, tiles, and shingles were offered as examples of roof coverings that could be spec’d by design architect or engineer. Guess that the honorable lady or gentleman has not heard or ”Spanish Tile”? Clearly, an improperly installed galvanize, tile, or shingles can blow off or lift off. Further, a wind rating larger than which the coverings we’re . designed for will lift or blow off. Ordinarily, no roof covering should just fall off and hit and injure anyone. But the sky can fall in to. You have your opinion and I have mine.

  4. My take says:

    Good work Premier

  5. Yess says:

    Good work premier you moving forward, We locals just need y’all to fix the immigration system that’s priority to much island people coming in here & not even on working permits, sitting all over degrading our town & country. To much a them island people here. Time for a clean up.

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  6. lol says:

    Lil DR….lol

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