August 10, 2011934Views

Wednesday, August 10 – Some forty (40) building professionals including contractors, heavy equipment operators, architects, engineers and planners gathered at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) for two days to discuss the recently completed maps that define recommended slope/cut ratios for safe development.

The workshop, which was entitled ‘Understanding your Building Site and How to Excavate for Safe Development’ was tailored to determine cut/slope definitions based on the geological formations in the Virgin Islands. The first day of the workshop was designed for contractors and heavy equipment operators while the second day brought together architects, engineers and planners.

Dr. James Joyce, an Engineering Geologist from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez facilitated the practical sessions. In speaking to the professionals he said, “The objective of the workshops is to present the newly developed maps that identify vulnerable areas in the geological formations of the Virgin Islands. The maps show where cut/slopes problems will occur, what areas are most vulnerable and what angles are recommended for cuts to ensure stability.”

The workshop included an hour-long presentation by Dr. Joyce at the DDM before the participants were taken to various sites on Tortola and Virgin Gorda to examine various cuts that had been performed.

In her remarks about the workshops Director of DDM, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo commented, “Understanding the value of these cut/slope maps is an important aspect of the work of the building professionals, whether it may be a land surveyor, an architect, an engineer, contractor or a heavy equipment operator.  The maps provide site specific information and allow for identification of areas that have problematic conditions.  It is important that this information be known beforehand to allow for appropriate mitigation measures to be included in the design and cost for proposed development but mostly to ensure a safe and longer lasting development.”

Principal Architect and owner of SA architecture, Planning & Development, Steve Augustine said, “I found every minute of the workshop very much informative and practical in approach.  It is clear that the information showcased in the presentation will contribute greatly to designing with greater awareness.” This was the same sentiment shared by other participants who attended the sessions.   The recently designed maps will provide more precise data for professionals and will guide them in the design and construction phases of development.

These maps are available in National Geographic Information System (NGIS) managed by the Town and Country Planning Department and can be made available to building professionals at a cost.  The DDM can also provide a detailed analysis of any development application through a Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA).  This analysis will provide specific details on hazards that might impact a particular location, natural features that may create difficulties during construction and recommend appropriate design and mitigation measures for development.

The workshop was hosted by DDM in conjunction with the Planning Authority and the Contractor’s Association and was sponsored by the Regional Risk Reduction Initiative (R3i) and the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID).

For more information on this particular workshop visit our offices at #3 Wailing Road, MacNamara, Tortola or call 284-468-4200.