CFBC/DM collaboration to usher in a new approach to building

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 23, 2014 (NEMA) - The much anticipated launch of the Training in the Regional Code of Practice (COP) for the Construction of Houses or Safer Building Course, took place today, Monday, 23rd June, 2014 at the Division of Technical and Vocational Education of CFBC.



At the head table were Dr. Leighton Naraine, Employee and Program Development Director at Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC); CFBC Lecturer and former Director of NHC, Wayland Vaughn and National Disaster Coordinator, Carl Herbert, who spoke on the project background and gave NEMA’s perspective.

 

Referring to the Caribbean’s vulnerability to some form of annual hazard impact, Mr. Herbert said that studies indicate that deficiencies in construction have contributed to immense loss of life and destruction of property throughout the region, over time.

“It is against this backdrop,” he said, “that the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), which is an agency that works closely with the 18 member states of Caricom to address Disaster Management (DM) in a Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) environment, proposed mitigation as a viable option to reduce the impact of hazards.”

Mr. Herbert says that this approach was preferred as St. Kitts and Nevis along with much of Caricom’s remaining member states; tend to be constrained by available finances to undertake recovery projects following an event. It has been seen to be the better alternative as well, because it boosts applications for funding from international donors, who give priority to countries that employ strong mitigation strategies.(l-r) Dr. Leighton Naraine, Program Development Director at Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC), Wayland Vaughn,  CFBC Lecturer and Carl Herbert, National Disaster Coordinator, NEMA St Kitts/Nevis

“It was also recognised that quite often a lot of the artisans, the builders, the tradesmen, who are involved in building homes, especially at the community level, did not go through an apprenticeship period, or participate in refresher courses in order to increase knowledge and to upgrade skills,” Mr. Herbert said.

That shortcoming, according to the presenters, has led many artisans to rely on their limited experience during construction, as opposed to theoretical training. Therefore, in keeping with what the NDC described as ‘an outcome’ of the CDM strategy, which is to build resilience at the community and national levels, CDEMA determined to promote safer building in the Caribbean by enhancing community resilience to disasters through training. This training is being facilitated through the Comprehensive Disaster Management Harmonised Implementation Programme (CDM HIP) Phase I, which has made funding for the implementation of the Safer Building Course available to CDEMA Participating States, at the national level.

Dr. Leighton Naraine, wrote and submitted the proposal for the Safer Building Course to CDEMA on behalf of the CFBC and the project received approval earlier this year. The Course is slated to begin on July 7th 2014, with a targeted 15 to 20 persons, according to Dr. Naraine, while work continues to refine the course structure and offerings, including the way registrants from Nevis, will participate.

The training aims, among other objectives, to increase the competitiveness of contractors, by growing their attractiveness to consumers who are discerning.

“In addition to persons who we’re targeting to train,” Dr. Naraine said, “contractors, foremen, informal builders, we also want the general public to be aware and so they can demand better service. I think that’s a key part of what we are doing.”

Accordingly, a number of marketing initiatives are being planned by the CFBC to promote the programme both to potential registrants and the consumers who will utilise their skills, ongoing. The plan is to make the Course sustainable by training Trainers and others who will likely be responsible for monitoring and building inspections.

A number of regional initiatives have specifically addressed enhancing community resilience in the past, including a pilot programme that led to the development of the Safer Building Course. Between June 2002 and March 2007, the CDEMA (formerly CDERA) implemented the Caribbean Hazard Mitigation Capacity Building Programme (CHAMP), with support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The CHAMP was piloted in four (4) CDEMA Participating States (PS)- Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia and the Virgin Islands.

The project included several components related to safer building:

  1. Safer building training,
  2. Enhancing awareness of safer building among homeowners and promoting the use of safer building materials,
  3. Institutionalisation of safer building at the national level.

A key achievement of the CHAMP was the development of the Regional Code of Practice (COP) for the Construction of Houses and its subsequent delivery in CHAMP pilot states. The COP targets actors in the informal building sector through an initiative which recognises the importance of promoting safer building techniques and materials at the community level and further and that informal contractors play a key role in residential building.

The Regional Code of Practice (COP) for the Construction of Houses was developed in collaboration with the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ). It is a two part document comprising a Trainer’s Manual (Part 1) and a Student’s Manual (Part 2), both documents to be used in the Certification Course that is currently being implemented at the CFBC.

For more information, please contact the CFBC at 465-2856. You may also contact Dr. Leighton Naraine at 765-9195, or Mr. Wayland Vaughn at 662-4283 or by calling the CFBC and asking for either of them.

CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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