PHILIPSBURG:--- On Sint Maarten, new building regulation to build back better and be more resilient in disasters is necessary to avoid mass destruction and casualties in the future. VNG International is supporting the process of defining new building norms.
Defining appropriate norms
After Irma, no one needs to be reminded why appropriate building norms and their compliance are essential. Now is the opportunity to define well informed spatial plans and building regulations.
A Building Ordinance and a Building Decree are both in place, but have not been reviewed or revised for a long time. The force of the category 5 hurricane showed that probably more would need to be done to make new and perhaps even existing buildings more resistant against future Hurricanes, or other disasters.
Seeking input from different stakeholders
On May 15 and May 16, on the invitation of the Ministry of VROMI, various stakeholders, including architects, developers and private sector met to discuss both existing and seek advice on possible future building norms. The aim was to get insight from experts on the pros and cons of different norms used in Europe, the United States and other Caribbean islands. Expert Gert-Jan van Leeuwen, former director of the Association of Residential Construction and Supervision in the Netherlands and with longstanding experience in the Caribbean, guided the discussions and will further develop a proposal for the building norms together with the Ministry of VROMI.
The activities took place in the framework of the recovery project of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) and was organized jointly with the Ministry of VROMI.
On the basis of the inventory, the new norms will be included/added in the existing Building Decree and put forward for approval within two months. It will be key to afterwards provide training for issuance of building permits on the basis of the new regulation in place and for inspection to ensure compliance with the building code. This will also be done with support of VNG International.