By Sheriece Smith
ROAD TOWN, BVI — A post-Irma interim reconstruction policy has been introduced to help residents in the British Virgin Islands to rebuild expeditiously.
Premier Dr Orlando Smith said, “I am quite anxious to see people move back into their homes and this means that everyone including our young people and seniors will feel comfortable and secure again.”
Smith said he is excited about this policy, as it will streamline the procedure for processing applications for reconstruction making it easier for the applicants. The policy also outlines guidelines for reconstruction including construction details to reduce potential damage to infrastructure from future Category 5 hurricanes.
The premier acknowledged that all applications submitted prior will be fast-tracked to get them processed in a timely manner to allow time for an influx of reconstruction applications. Building repairs required as a result of the hurricane will be categorised as renovations, thus, will not require the approval from the Planning Authority.
The policy advises property owners who have received prior approval less than three years ago to proceed to build in accordance with the approval with no further action necessary from the Planning Authority. This approach will aid in moving persons more quickly towards a greater state of normality.
Meanwhile, buildings that have been approved more than three years ago will be granted extensions with no application fees required. The property owners will be required to simply write to the Planning Authority requesting an extension. Buildings which have no recent approval and require full approval for reconstruction will be required to submit an application for planning approval.
All applications that don’t require the Planning Authority’s approval are required to seek approval from the Building Authority.
Post hurricane applications will be grouped into the categories of reconstruction applications and new applications to be processed weekly and monthly respectively.
The Building Authority is promoting the use of sketches and will make the following considerations:
• Concrete roof designs will be fast-tracked, pending the existence or inclusion of 8” structure below roof,
• Wooden roofs with separation of main roof and porch roof shall be fast-tracked,
• Roof slope on wooden roofs should be 3:12 pitch minimum, 6 or 7:12 preferred.
The policy provides the following guidelines for reconstruction of roofs, windows, doors and shutters:
• Rafters must be 3” minimum and must be securely fastened to beams and wall plates, hurricane clips and rebar connections must be used
• Plywood decking must be lapped and secured using 2.5” minimum fasteners
• Battens must be secured using 4.5” minimum fasteners 2 per rafter minimum; these must also be spaced in accordance with manufacturer specification for the roof finish;
• Roof finish must be secured according to manufacturer specification. Additional fasteners must be used at eaves, hips and valleys
• Doors and windows should be secured with shutters. Shutters must be carefully installed using manufacturer specifications.