Barbados is proud to offer to the world an efficient and competitive construction industry built upon strong traditions and complying with international standards. The industry is bound by the laws of contract, which in Barbados, are based on UK laws. Our construction professionals have historically followed the codes of practice of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Institutes of Civil and Structural Engineers. The consulting professions have developed to a level where their members are now responsible to the Barbados Institute of Architects (BIA), the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers and the Barbados Association of Quantity Surveyors (BAQS). The architects and engineers are governed by their respective registration acts and their conduct controlled by their institutions.
Construction contracts in Barbados are usually administered under the range of Joint Contracts Tribunal standard forms of contract issued in the UK or by FIDIC the international engineering works contract. However, when working on aid financed projects, the industry is familiar with the terms and conditions of contract used by the World Bank, IADB, Caribbean Development Bank and the EDF. The BIA have issued a Minor Works Form of Contract and the BAQS have prepared a standard form of house building contract both of which are for local use in Barbados. In the preparation of tender documents consultants rely on reference to British Standard Specifications (BSS references) and Codes of Practice, ASTM Standards and where appropriate standards as laid down by the Barbados National Standards Institute for the control of the quality of materials and workmanship. Barbados has recently adopted a national building code that sets out, amongst other things, design and safety standards that are akin to the UK Building Regulations. This code is not as yet fully operational, however its content has paved the way for greater attention to be paid by Government in the area of building control after permission has been granted by the Town and Country Planning Office.
Both contractor and consultants have in recent years embraced alternative forms of delivering construction projects. Design and build packages, partnering and joint venture arrangements have now become options available to investors wishing to develop in Barbados. These options are seen by many to be the way forward providing comfort to all parties and reducing development risk and dispute potential.
With the stability of a sound formal contractual structure, controlled and administered by a cadre of well-trained and experienced professionals responsible for their actions to their respective institutions, the construction industry provides a strong contribution to the economy of Barbados. This background is enhanced by the capabilities of a wide range of local contractors who have developed their site management skills, their procurement procedures and their efficiency to a level that is comparable with the highest of international standards. Lastly, but by no means should this be down played, is the quality of workmanship provided by a well-educated and highly skilled Bajan workforce. Their tradesmanship has maintained the traditional skills of their forbears and encompassed the technological advances available to them through improved technical training programmes and construction methodologies.
The industry has proven itself to be open minded to change, and capable of developing in an ever growing and competitive market. I am confident it will continue to grow from strength to strength and provide the economy with a solid foundation on which to build a positive future for Barbados.