Contractors and builders advised on hurricane preparedness plans

POSTED: 07/18/16 5:06 PM

St. Maarten News—Authorities are urging contractors and builders to have a plan in place to prepare and secure their construction sites in the event of a hurricane threat to the country. The authorities in a press release said every effort should be made to be prepared in the event of a threat. “Contractors and home builders during severe weather are responsible for securing construction 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 lead to possible loss of life.  With building and construction activity 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 at their site,” the release said.

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 construction sites should be kept clean.  Arrange timely pick up of trash dumpsters, and only keep materials on 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 48-hours before a system is forecast 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 construction site.  Do not wait until the last minute to inspect your job site, 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 construction 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 St. Maarten.  Keep in mind that damages from the hurricane on other parts of the island may impede efforts for immediate attention of construction sites.

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