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New building code in draft stage

Friday, October 19, 2012    

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THE long-awaited building code that will set out the standard or guideline for the construction of buildings to ensure the safety for the occupants is currently in the draft stage at the Chief Parliamentary Council, Minister of Local Government and Community Development Noel Arscott has disclosed.

"We have now developed the code, which is in a draft stage at the Chief Parliamentary Council, and thereafter it will be in the process to develop a new building code for Jamaica," Arscott said.

He was speaking at the launch of the seventh annual Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Kingston yesterday.

Underscoring the importance of the building code, Arscott noted that the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 pointed to a severe lack of building standards in that country.

He said that nearly all the buildings in Port-au-Prince, with the exception of the Digicel building that was recently built, "crumbled, like a deck of cards".

Noting that the region was susceptible to disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis, the minister called on the countries of the region to develop a collective approach to resilience building.

He also said there was a need to guard against alien species coming into the region such as the lionfish that feeds on the parrot fish, which is important for the protection of coral reefs and the production of sand for the island's beaches.

The CDM conference, which is hosted by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency in collaboration with ODPEM, will be held at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay from December 3 to 7.

The conference, which is being held in Jamaica for the third time, has as its theme 'CDM: Building disaster resilience -- a shared responsibility'.

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