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Rehab job: Parliament repairs ‘to finish by April’, says Duguid

by Barbados Today
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Restoration works on the Parliament Buildings which have experienced some delays over the past few months should be finished by March or April of 2022, Minister of Housing Dr William Duguid said Friday,

As he took reporters on a tour of the Senate Chambers now being re-constructed, he said the initial work to the buildings began just under a year ago to first fix a water issue in the library.

The rehabilitation of the East Wing of the buildings, built between 1870 and 1874 to accommodate the legislatures and civil service, is expected to cost $6 million.

Further inspection uncovered significant structural damage and decay in the floors of both the Senate and House of Assembly, which warranted more significant attention.

Dr Duguid said: “As we looked through and looked at all of the additional work that we had to do, it changed to a complete restoration for all of Parliament, because what we found is that we had a lot of termite damage, we found we had to change up the floor and make it a floor that has its own ventilation rather than being a concrete floor, and we changed over a lot of the concrete floors to wood floors.

“A lot of the intricate work for the windows had to be improved because a lot of the windows were termite-eaten, and we had to change out the air condition[ing] as well. So it’s been a tremendous amount of work that has gone into the total restoration of this building, to bring back a building that is almost 150 years old to what it used to be, and to its former glory.”

Maintenance Supervisor in the Ministry of Housing, Terrol Inniss, said that given the age of the structures, close attention was paid to the best methods to restore the buildings to their former glory, while at the same time updating them for modern use.

Inniss told reporters: “The age of this particular building being close to 150 years, you would understand and appreciate that there would have been deterioration over time, that deterioration we have recognized in several areas, we have seen it in many of the timber sections.

“So in this particular building what we have actually done now in this case [is] that we have made sure that every window in this building can open fully, and that it has the hurricane protection that it had originally. We are making sure that shutters work, and we are making sure that ventilator systems work.”

A state-of-the-art building management system will go into effect as soon as work is completed, he said. The interior will become more hospitable to those people suffering from allergies or sinuses issues with the ventilator system actively removing moisture from the interior and circulating fresh air into the various quarters, he added.

Work on the site is being fully done using artisans from the Ministry of Housing, though some additional materials for the project have been sourced through assistance from the Guyanese government. (SB)

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