No building breach

NHC building site at Merricks, St. Philip.

The more than $2 million Government housing project now underway at Merricks in St. Philip is being carried out above board.

Reports in some quarters had suggested that the state-owned National Housing Corporation, which is behind the River View Starter Homes Programme, had begun construction without running water on site, in breach of Town Planning and Barbados Water Authority regulations.

However, investigations by Barbados TODAY, including a site visit, revealed that there was no breach. Both Town Planning and the BWA corroborated each other’s statements, that once the project had access to water and there was an existing electricity source in the immediate area, the contractors could go ahead and start.

“If there are houses in the area, there should be a water main they could connect to,” pointed out a senior official in the BWA.

“The NHC would have been given permission to sub-divide the land to start the project. The issue of having water on site would be for the Water Authority to give the go ahead. Having running water on site would be a question of health and environmental issues,” noted a senior official in the Town and Country Planning Department.

A site visit revealed the existence of a small mobile water tanker stationed there, which the workers said was used for their various needs. BWA and Town Planning officials conceded that such a container was good enough to allow the project to begin without breaching any regulations.

The Town Planning official said one of the main reasons for requiring running water on a construction site was for washing up and other matters critical to the maintenance of proper health.

The River View Starter Home Programme is expected to build 17 one- and two-bed room homes, to be sold for between $120,000 and $160,000.

“We are currently building a model home. The contract will be awarded shortly to build the other 16,” disclosed Acting Chief Technical Officer at the NHC, Russell Armstrong.

Armstrong also informed this paper that all the homes were expected to be completed by February 2013. The model house, however, should be completed in a matter of weeks. (EJ)

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