Minister Lake calls on contractors and builders to have plans in place to remove building materials

Remove building materials in the event of a hurricane

Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake is calling on contractors and builders to have a plan in place to prepare and secure their job sites in the event of a passing hurricane.

The most active months of the hurricane season are approaching and every effort should be made to be prepared in the event of a threat to the country.

"Again it’s going back to basics. If building sites are not secure, the tax payer has to pay for the clean-up of debris from construction sites after the passing of a hurricane if the contractor does not secure the site.

"To avoid un-necessarily burdening the tax payer, such sites should have plans that are easily implemented, a basic simple plan to secure the site and protect lives and other homes and buildings from being damaged by unsecure construction materials. It’s simple as that; we all have a responsibility as a community to protect ourselves and each other. It starts with you and mean.

"Let’s all work together in making our country safe and secure and for the hurricane season we need the contractors and small builders to think in that manner as well and have a basic plan to secure your building site," Minister Hon. Maurice Lake appealed on Thursday.

Contractors and home builders during severe weather are responsible for securing job sites for the protection of the public, property and surrounding areas.

Materials such as plywood, shingles, zinc, and other construction material could become flying missiles capable of impaling brick walls or anything in its way.

Construction debris can cause severe damage to property and loss of life. With building and construction activity still taking place on the island, every construction site supervisor and/or foreman is advised to have a plan in place with respect to what action they will be taking.

A tropical storm system could form during any part of the hurricane season and not necessarily during the peak months from mid-August to mid-October.

As a general rule, all jobsites should be kept clean. Arrange timely pick up of trash dumpsters, and only keep materials on the job site you actually will utilize at any given week especially during the hurricane season, and keep construction equipment secure. Any planned supply deliveries should be postponed if there is a hurricane threat to the island.

When a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued 36-48-hours before a system is forecasted to hit, remove all scaffolding, and remove, or safely secure, all building materials and equipment.

Sub-contractors should also be alerted to their responsibilities as well with respect to securing or removing their materials and equipment.

Stop job processes that will likely become damaged by the hurricane, such as window installations, house wrap, or landscaping. Complete those tasks that will likely prevent damage, such as concrete work, closing in a house, or filling in foundation excavations.

Follow through with a quick inspection of your job sites. Do not wait until the last minute to inspect your job sites, as you may need that time to go home and secure your own family home. Employees will need to also do the same.

Once the hurricane is over, return to the job site for damage inspection only when the all clear sign has been given by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) headed by the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten.

Keep in mind that damages from the hurricane on other parts of the island may impede efforts for immediate attention of job sites.