Basseterre, St. Kitts (April 28, 2004): St. Kitts and Nevis marked its commitment to adopting the initiatives of the new OECS harmonized building code by undertaking a seminar, this morning.
|Chief Physical Planner Ellis Hazel |
The seminar introduced the specifications of the new harmonized building code to various development partners, particularly construction sector stakeholders.
As Chief Physical Planner Mr. Ellis Hazel explained some of the benefits of the new harmonized code. He said it allows individual member states and the subregion to position itself to increase returns in the sector.
He added that it provides human resource development interventions and initiatives to collaborate with the Physical Planning Division of the Planning Unit and the Development Control and Planning Board in reinforcing and enforcing provisions of the building code.
The code also addresses the collaborative role of government and the public sector in strengthening resources. Initiatives for the import of building materials and public sector investment projects are also involved. The document also encourages government and the private sector to routinely subcontract work to smaller and medium sized contractors, as well as provide initiatives for the strengthening of management capabilities and structures of firms.
In giving the keynote address, Chairperson of the Development Control and Planning Board Mr. Victor Williams said that despite improvements much more could be achieved via reorganization with more emphasis on stakeholder involvement. He described this as a rethinking of the planning process in the Federation as well as the adopting of an ecosystem approach to planning and development.
| Chairperson of the Development Control and Planning Board Victor Williams |
He said this ecosystem approach to planning entails eight principles. Namely basing planning areas on natural boundaries, designing with nature in mind, considering cumulative effects and encouraging inter-jurisdictional decision making. Consultation, facilitation and partnership; monitoring, feedback and adaptation plans; adopting an interdisciplinary approach to information gathering; and ensuring that land-use planning integrates the environment as an economic objective were also included.
Mr. Williams further noted that the importance of and the possibilities within the construction sector are now being recognized. He said that the industry is no longer considered a stopgap sector but is seen as a formidable avenue for real and new economic growth. It was however noted that there are certain issues and constraints, most of which relate to human resource development. The Chairperson of the Development Control and Planning Board said that these problems could be resolved by increasing local avenues for improving competency and skills.
Prime Minister Douglas who was unable to attend the seminar’s opening ceremony wrote a message to the participants. It was read by Mr. Ellis Hazel.