St. Maarten Government presses contractors and builders to plan for hurricane season

POSTED: 07/12/11 4:22 PM

St. Maarten – Contractors and builders are requested to have a plan in place to prepare and secure their job sites in the event of a passing hurricane. Contractors and home builders are responsible for securing job sites during severe weather for the protection of the public, property and surrounding areas.

“Even though the season has been quiet so far, every effort should be made to be prepared in the event of a threat. 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,” a release from the Department of Communications stated.

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 cost lives. With building and construction activity still taking place on the island, every construction site supervisor or foreman is advised to have a plan in place with respect to what action they will be taking.

“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,” the release stated.

“All scaffolding should be removed and all building materials and equipment should be removed or safely secured when a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued 48-hours before a system is forecast to hit. Sub contractors should also be alerted to their responsibilities as well with respect to securing or removing their materials and equipment,” the statement advised.

Other tips in the release are stop job processes that will likely become damaged by the hurricane, such as window installations, house wrap, or landscaping by complete those tasks that will likely prevent damage, such as concrete work, closing in a house, or filling in foundation excavations.  A quick inspection of the job site(s) should follow and the contractors or builders are advised not to wait until the last minute so that they and their employees can also have time to inspect and secure their own homes.

Once the hurricane is over, contractors and builders should return to the job site for damage inspection after the all clear sign has been given by the Emergency Operations Centre, which is 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 job sites,” the DCOMM release concludes.

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