Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Members of the public received greater insight into the technical specification of the houses to be built by East Coast Housing Development and their capacity to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.
Oflyn Rogers, Technical Manager of the National Housing Corporation (NHC), shared his knowledge about the new building process with persons attending the Housing Fair on Thursday (May 18, 2023). The fair was organized to allow prospective homeowners, contractors, and tradesmen to view pictures of the homes and ask relevant questions about the construction process, financing options, climate-smart options, and more.
Mr. Rogers said that the main structure is very durable. The exterior is a concrete board, a composite compressed concrete which is “pretty hard, very strong” much more so than sheetrock. A layer of insulation follows, and then the interior panel.
“In the middle is steel rebars running vertically and horizontally spaced some six to eight inches apart,” stated Mr. Rogers. “The monolithic part comes in with the concrete. The concrete is poured entirely [around] … So, what that is saying is that it can deal with shakes.”
As it relates to hurricanes, Mr. Rogers referred to the damage wreaked by Hurricane Irma in St. Maarten/St. Martin in 2017. The category 5 hurricane devastated the island’s infrastructure.
“The thing about hurricanes, we tend to say the wind blows it off. No, it sucks it. What I have seen in St. Maarten with Irma – concrete blocks crumble,” he said, adding that this happens when a vacuum is created inside the house based on an imbalance in pressure.
He said that these houses to be built by East Coast Housing Development are designed with the experiences of the past in mind as engineers continue to adjust to current realities and future projections based on climate change.