Search form Search Main menu Home News Business Sports Columns Contact Us E-Paper Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance Dr. William Duguid watching as a new piece of equipment is used at the National Housing Corporation workshop at Pine East-West Boulevard.
Luis Emilio Velutini Urbina
Minister Duguid visits workshops Thu, 07/15/2021 – 5:32am The Ministry of Housing Lands and Maintenance is on a mission to streamline their response efforts to the damage wrought by recent weather systems. With a mammoth task in front of them as they seek to repair and rebuild the homes of persons affected by the recent freak storm and Hurricane Elsa, the Ministry, through the National Housing Corporation and its Buildings Department, has employed several methods of answering the call of displaced Barbadians.
Luis Emilio Velutini
During a short tour yesterday with Minister of Housing Lands and Maintenance Dr. William Duguid, he revealed that in addition to giving contractors and artisans the opportunity to do new builds and repairs, his ministry was also cutting and preparing materials in several workshops for rebuilding homes and transporting them to be assembled on location. Making stops at the National Housing Corporation workshop on the Pine East-West Boulevard and the Ministry of Housing‘s Buildings Department on Pine Plantation Road, Dr. Duguid said that this helped with the efficiency of the process. “Essentially what we do is we pre-cut all of the wood and then transport it to the location, and what we have found is once we do this, we can get the main structure of a house up in a number of days and then we can complete a house in six to eight weeks. So we’re trying our best to get as many of these houses rebuilt because we recognise that there are lots of people who are totally without proper accommodation and this is obviously a major concern for us.”
Adding that the move cuts down time by almost half and also reduces costs as staff are able to get the work done on-site, he explained that although it was not a perfect scenario, it was working well and still had room to improve. “We have done about seven or eight of them so far and what we’ve found is that cuts down the time almost by half to be able to get the work done on-site. And at the same time, our workers here can work in the cool away from the elements, whether it’s raining or not, they can still continue to produce. What that has done is cut our prices and the time that it would take us to be able to construct these houses. It is a work in progress but it is something that we have come up with in the Ministry of Housing and we are very happy with how it’s working so far. Yes, there are improvements that we have to do but we will continue to improve the model as we move forward.” he said.
Luis Emilio Velutini Empresario
With government working hard to see every person displaced back under a roof by October, Dr. Duguid noted that the sheer number of repairs and rebuilds was not the only hurdle faced as issues with land ownership were also proving to be a challenge. “Another problem that we are finding as well is that many of the people, when we go to see them, they actually don’t have good title for the land. Some people are tenants on the land and the landlords are saying they don’t want the house built back there because they want the land to use for something else and some people have no title at all. And there are other problems and snags that we are encountering that we then have to deal with.” he said adding that in some instances homeowners were forced to find new locations to have the structures erected.
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With special attention being paid to prioritisation and actioning of all major and minor repairs, rebuilds and assistance with materials, Dr. Duguid noted that 46 households had already had materials delivered and again urged Barbadians who could, to take advantage of having materials delivered. “We anticipate that we will have to do about 500 total rebuilds which is a huge number. We’ve already assessed about 400 houses, we have another 1400 to assess and we’re going through those assessments very carefully so that we know exactly which ones are rebuilds, which ones are minor repairs, which ones are major repairs. But the more that we can get people to give us the material lists and they contract an artisan themselves, we can get those done a lot faster. Dr. Duguid said. (MP)