Director says new construction method will create opportunities

A CHAPA Bau Housing model structure

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – There’s a firm rejection of suggestions that a new construction method introduced to the island would create undue competition for local contractors.

Principals of CHAPA Bau Panel said the firm will create opportunities for operators in the construction business and not push them out.

The recently launched Bau Panel building material has been touted as more affordable and easier to construct than traditional building methods, leading some to question if local firms could compete.

But Managing Director of CHAPA Bau, Ken Hurst, said his company was not a construction firm and that it would partner with local contractors.

“To date, we plan to engage 12 local contractors,” he said. “We will train them and they are the persons who are going to build the houses.”

Hurst admitted, however, that not every contractor would be able to be trained. He said CHAPA Bau would select the best suited.

“We are going to train them; we are going to give them a licence and they will produce the houses to our specifications,” Hurst said.

Chairman of Bau Panel Systems Ltd David Kendrick said unlicensed contractors would not be allowed to build using Bau’s material.

“There are a lot of people who have their own lots and would want to come to Bau and buy the panels and then go and put them up,” Kendrick said.

“Well, that is not my business. I am not a wholesale panel seller. We will select and work with trained and supervised Bau installers.”

CHAPA Bau is a joint venture, 32 per cent of which is owned by government and the remainder by Bau Panel Ltd. The company plans to build 5,000 homes in Antigua using a special system which combines polystyrene panels and concrete.

It will begin with 115 acres of land provided by the government (through the Central Housing and Planning Authority) for housing developments in the Bolans, Five Islands, Lightfoot and Lyons areas.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)

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