Saturday, May 2, 2015

Building Inspectors Urged to Maintain Integrity

Acting Chief Housing Officer, Kendal Butler is shown here speaking to building inspectors during a training seminar to enhance their knowledge and capabilities.  Also pictured is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Housing, Camille Johnson.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Housing, Camille Johnson, recently admitted to building inspectors that their jobs will put them “at odds with people on a daily basis,” particularly when they have to tell contractors or other tradesmen of unacceptable work.

“That conversation often leads to a heated disagreement.  As an inspector, you must not let your temper get away from you.  You must be able to stay calm and persistent while listening to the complaints of the contractor, which may include threats.  Remain calm and persistent,” she advised.

Ms. Johnson was bringing remarks at a Department of Housing training seminar for building inspectors held in conjunction with The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI).  The three-day seminar was to improve the inspectorate team’s knowledge, while strengthening their resolve to never compromise their integrity as building inspectors.

Furthermore, with evolving technology and new materials, combined with certification requirements and licensing regulations, it has become necessary for building inspectors to pursue continuing education courses and seminars.  Ms. Johnson noted that technical schools, like BTVI, offer courses in construction and project management.

“Just because you have a degree in construction management and inspection doesn’t mean you are through learning,” she told inspectors, whose main objection is to inspect the construction of new government houses.

In addition, the building inspectors were reminded to be familiar with the construction documents and all phases of the work.  “This would avoid costly and time wasting mistakes and the foresight of bottlenecks due to delayed delivery of material and improper scheduling of the work by the contractor,” said Ms. Johnson.

BTVI instructors played a key role during the seminar, facilitating many of the sessions including, but not limited to what to look for during site preparation, on floors, walls and finishes, in plumbing, interior partitions and trims, drywall and surface preservation.

Dean of Construction Trades and Workforce, Alexander Darville was optimistic that the seminar would strengthen the relationship between BTVI and the Department of Housing.  “We partner with industry so they can see what we have to offer. In doing so, we expose them to our subject matter experts.  It is also an opportunity to show the Department of Housing that they could also consider our students for internships and possibly employment,” said Mr. Darville.

Meanwhile, Senior Building Inspector, Carolyn King-Williams, expressed excitement about the seminar, particularly as vigilance is a major part of her job.

“Building inspectors are the eyes on the job, ensuring quality materials are being used, so this seminar keeps inspectors on their toes and reinforces our role in helping the government achieve its agenda in providing quality workmanship on homes,” she stated.

Acting Chief Housing Officer, Kendal Butler added that with the enhanced knowledge and capabilities building inspectors would have received during the seminar, it is expected that there would be a decrease in unacceptable workmanship due to their attentiveness.