Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 25th 2014 Contents A16
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Director of the St Augustine Cam-
pus of the University of the West
Indies Seismic Research Centre Dr
Richard Robertson has called for the
speedy formulation of a national
building code to ensure all buildings
are earthquake resilient.
In fact, he said, T&T simply could
not afford to delay any further on the
code because scientists have warned
that if a major earthquake were to strike
locally there would be mass destruction
and loss of lives.
In a phone interview, Robertson said,
"In the absence of a building code there
is a lot of leeway for people to construct
things in any way. You need regulations."
Robertson said in a news release last
week that recent research indicated that
economic damage of US$5 billion and
US$6 billion, respectively, for Port-of-
Spain and San Fernando could occur
as a result of a magnitude 7.5 earth-
His plea for urgency might be of little
effect as it has been two years since
the appointment of the National Build-
ing Code Committee and funds are yet
to be released for the formulation of
the code, though Cabinet approved $12
million for the formulation of the code
last year. Robertson said that should
"We are saying that the stumbling
blocks need to be moved out of the
way so that we could proceed. The
longer it takes for us to proceed in this
regard, the longer it takes to get to the
stage where T&T is resilient.
All the development we have hap-
pening now, it would be in jeopardy in
the future if we do not get these reg-
ulations in place, get them enforced
and get people committed to moving
forward," he lamented.
Robertson said the building code was
really one element of a comprehensive
strategy needed to build resilience.
He said there were lines of evidence
that suggested that T&T could have a
large potentially damaging seismic event
which could set it country back.
"Every day that we have not moved
forward is a day longer than necessary,"
UWI Seismic Research Centre director:
He said, in the release, the cur-
rent estimates of seismic hazard
suggested the likelihood of being
killed by an earthquake in the next
50 years was comparable to the
likelihood of being murdered in
that same period, given the current
murder rate and current estimate
of the seismic hazard.
"We need appropriate building
codes backed by legislation. Earth-
quakes do not kill people, buildings
do," Robertson said
He said T&T was in an area of
high earthquake activity for the
Caribbean and scientific evidence
indicated that the islands were
likely to experience a large-mag-
nitude earthquake sooner rather
New call for national building code
Building code committee chairman
Shyankaran Lalla told the T&T
Guardian via SMS, the committee was
still waiting on funds. He said the code
was even more critical now that the
Planning and Facilitation Act would
come into effect.
The act, he said, could not work
without a building code.
"The undue delay in the
disbursement of funding for the
development of a national building
code is delaying the delivery of the
code which sets minimum standards
for the protection of the health safety
and welfare of our citizens," he said.
Lalla said the SRC kept warning the
country of an impending disaster and
it should be taken seriously.
"Haiti failed to heed warnings of
seismologists and we all know what
the result was. We are fortunate to
have the opportunity to reduce the
risk associated with disasters by
developing and enforcing the
requirements of a building code.
"We must take action with a sense
of urgency before it is too late," he
Housing and Urban Development
Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal assured
that Government was committed to
the formulation of a national building
He expressed confidence that the
2014 deadline for the code would be
"We continue to work with the
Building Code committee. We have
had some institutional difficulties
among the state partners in recent
times which led to a slowing down of
the work, but I am assured that by
next week we will be on full steam
and intend to meet our 2014
deadline," he said via text message.
A view of a rainbow from Upper Belmont Valley Road, Belmont, after a drizzle in the area yesterday.
PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
COMMITTED TO CODE
WAITING ON FUNDS
Links Archive June 24th 2014 June 26th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page