One of the aims of the Barbados Association of Engineers is to bring a greater awareness to what they do.
President of the Greg Parris, a civil engineer, told Barbados TODAY in a recent interview that during his second term which ends next year, there are plans to have sessions for engineers and the wider public and they will be speaking out on various issues as necessary.
He also spoke about the Building Code and challenges facing the profession.
“With house building, or building in general, we work closely with architects because you go to them first because you’re concerned about aesthetics. Safety, believe it or not comes as a second priority, you want to know how your house will look.
“While the Building Code exists, it is not mandatory to build to it and what happens is there is not a standard of construction. Some who is doing the same two houses in the exact conditions, could do two different things because there is not a minimum standard. We have to make it mandatory, now it is the hurricane season because you don’t want all the houses damaged by a little gust of wind.
“We need to get the Building Code enacted, It is critical to do this and while we’re one of the stakeholders in it, the Barbados National Standards Institute is the one pushing it,” he said.
Among the challenges facing the profession, said the president, is the downturn is the economy which is impacting negatively on the civil engineers.
“The civil engineering discipline is being affected because they mainly gain income from capital work projects. The country is in recession and people cannot afford to provide financing for these projects then obviously a lot of companies — consultancy firms and constructing firms, are feeling it the most.
“The other [challenge] is our chemical engineers in the manufacturing sector, who are working in the rum industry, that will be affected by the subsidy the US Government is providing to the US producing territories in the Caribbean. That’s unfair competition.
“The private consultancy firms are also affected by the downturn in construction. A lot of them do mechanical and electrical engineering designs for these structures,” Parris said. (DS)