Professional guidance needed in rebuilding Barbuda homes – architect

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Barbuda residents are being urged to seek professional advice as they rebuild their homes on the island which was decimated by Hurricane Irma.
The advice came on Thursday from Colin Jenkins, a member of the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Architects.
In an interview with OBSERVER media, Jenkins said that there was nothing wrong with the do-it-yourself approach, pointing out that many people had taken that route to owning their homes today. But he cautioned that such an approach must be guided by professionals.
“Persons can have friends who would assist them to do the construction, the rebuilding process, the designing process; it just means that there should be someone within the midst that has intimate knowledge of what’s required according to code and they guide the process.”
According to the architect, if people planned on doing things like mixing their own concrete they should seek advice from someone with the requisite expertise.
The architect also urged residents to consider where they were and whether it would be necessary to move.
“The second thing is to understand that within the context of hurricanes take a critical look at where you are in Barbuda and determine, through help once more, whether or not you should stay where you are.”
According to Jennings, that advice did not apply to those in Barbuda alone since there may be others living in high-risk areas on the mainland.
“That is something that has to be evaluated from an individual basis along with having persons to consult to know whether or not you’re putting yourself in danger.”
Jenkins’ last bit of advice to those looking to build was that they educate themselves on the process by utilising the various resources available.
“There’s a lot of information out there, some of it can be overwhelming to the average person, but organisations such as the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Auth-ority have programmes. They have databases of persons. Some of the financial institutions have the same as well so that you can understand some of the do’s and don’ts for your individual purpose and interest.”
Jenkins was speaking to OBSERVER media upon the conclusion of the first public symposium on rebuilding following the September storms.
The event was hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority with presentations from contractors, engineers and architects.

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