Construction firms, Builders and Trenching Contractors must be Storm-ready

July 17, 2020 2:00 am
Construction activities, trenching and excavation works, are underway throughout the country since the lifting of the COVID-19 State of Emergency lockdown back in June. At building and construction sites, materials, and debris laying around could pose a threat in the event of a storm/hurricane threat to the nation. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has been forecast to be a busy one. So far, six named storms have already formed for the season Therefore, Are You Ready?  Contractors and builders must have a plan in place to secure building sites before a storm/hurricane strike.  This is also applicable to trenching and excavation contractors. Contractors and builders are requested by the Fire Department/Office of Disaster Management (ODM) to have a plan in place to prepare and secure their building sites and excavation sites in the event of a storm/hurricane threat to the country. Building sites must be storm-ready within a 48-hour period before the arrival of a storm/hurricane. Contractors, trench/excavation works, and home builders during severe weather are responsible for securing building sites for the protection of the public, and property. Materials such as plywood, shingles, zinc, and other construction materials could become flying missiles capable of impaling zinc roofs, windows, or anything in its way. Construction debris can cause severe damage to property and lead to possible loss of life.  With building 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 building site whether it's a small, medium, or large house, or business. As a rule, all building and trench worksites should be kept organized and clean.  Arrange timely pick up of trash (discarded old zinc, wood, etc.) dumpsters, and only keep materials on-site you will utilize during any given week especially bearing in mind that we are in the hurricane season and keep construction equipment secure. All businesses should also see to it that their premises are kept clean of any debris as part of a preventative approach. Any planned supply deliveries should be postponed if there is a storm/hurricane threat to the island within a 48-hour period. 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 storm/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 building site once a tropical storm/hurricane watch has been issued for the country.  Do not wait until the last minute to inspect your job site, as you will need that time to go home and secure your own family dwelling.  Employees will also need time to do the same to make their final storm/hurricane ready preparations. Once the storm/hurricane is over and the All Clear has been given by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) headed by the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, you may return to the building site for damage assessment and inspection. Remember, to have your building site storm-ready in the event of a storm/hurricane strike. Listen to the Government Radio station - 107.9FM - for official information and news before, during, and after a hurricane. For official weather-related information, check out the website of the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS): Source: