Photo courtesy One Sandy Lane
Given that this publication is predominantly aimed at attracting foreign direct investment into Barbados, it is very easy to understand why previous authors over the course of the last 15 years or so have focused heavily on highlighting the integrity and competency of the construction industry in this country. After all, investors must have total confidence that their funds are safe and the result will be money well spent. The fact that Barbados represents such a tiny tropical speck on the world map has made this issue of trustworthiness all the more sensitive, since those people who do not have any first hand knowledge of this country are usually shocked to discover that we have been delivering world-class standards for decades.
The actual reality, which has been proven time and time again, is that modern Barbados can offer the world an efficient and competitive construction industry that complies with the highest industry standards and is itself built upon a solid foundation of strong traditions. Barbadian construction services (builders, architects, project managers, engineers, quantity surveyors, interior designers, landscapers and artisans) are ranked amongst the best in the world.
The Barbados construction sector is bound by British laws of contract and our construction professionals are overseen by three major organizations: the Barbados Institute of Architects, the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers and the Barbados Association of Quantity Surveyors. In addition, there is a Barbados National Building Code of set technical standards and requirements for the design and construction of buildings, detailing strict controls of structural sufficiency and durability, fire safety, health and amenity.
As well as being highly qualified and well regulated, the construction industry professionals of Barbados have acquired a disproportionately wide range of building experience for such a small island. Thanks mainly to the burgeoning success of the tourism and international business sectors in Barbados over the last five decades, we have seen a constant demand for an increasingly sophisticated variety of accommodation options, ranging from holiday homes to huge themed resorts, together with a diverse selection of commercial and industrial facilities. The accompanying boom in the construction industry has consequently resulted in a number of Barbadian owned and operated companies developing levels of experience and technical expertise that would ordinarily only be associated with much bigger, ‘first world’ economies.
All in all, it is safe to assume that the construction sector in Barbados can offer high levels of integrity and competency to investors.
Furthermore, beyond those outstanding industry standards, perhaps what most distinguishes Barbados from other comparable destinations is the extraordinary quality and aesthetic appeal of the buildings we create. The last twenty years in particular have seen Barbadian construction companies successfully deliver some of the most magnificent properties to be found anywhere in the world. The extensive list of praiseworthy achievements incorporates every conceivable type of building from opulent villas, to palatial esidences, to luxurious hotels, to sumptuous golf and lifestyle resorts, to superb residential marinas.
When the international investors behind the majestic One Sandy Lane, arguably the most stylish building ever constructed in Barbados, were formulating their plans, they were very clear about their goals. They openly stated that they wanted nothing less than the finest quality building of its kind in the entire world. The fact that they chose our island as the preferred location for their prized asset is in itself an enormous compliment to Barbados. That resounding vote of confidence in this country was then further cemented when a Barbadian architect, Larry Warren, was commissioned to design the building; and more so again when Rotherley Construction, a wholly Barbadian company, was chosen to build it. While specialist foreign craftsmen were brought in to work with their own native materials, such as Italians to lay marble and French workers to apply traditional Plaster of Paris, the majority of the finishes were completed by highly skilled Barbadian artisans.
It has to be noted that while One Sandy Lane may be a spectacular example of the exceptional quality that Barbados can deliver, it is just one of literally hundreds of lavish construction projects that have been successfully undertaken by Barbadian companies. It is equally important to recognize that this is not just a new trend, born out of modern consumer requirements. The country of Barbados can boast of a proud tradition of creating beautiful buildings that dates all the way back to the 17th century, when the island was first settled. A fine example of our rich architectural heritage is St. Nicholas Abbey, built around 1650. St. Nicholas Abbey, which resembles the typical English Jacobean manor house of that era, was recently beautifully restored by its current owner Larry Warren, the same architect who designed One Sandy Lane. Coincidentally, or not, the restoration work was carried out by Rotherley Construction.
To quote from Henry Fraser’s introduction to the impressive book Architecture & Design in Barbados: “There have been a profusion of magnificent mansions along the west coast, which have drawn on every element of Bajan vernacular in creating beautiful buildings. Some, like Fustic House in St. Lucy and Cockade House in St. Thomas, were robust, historic Bajan houses embellished with good taste. Others, like Maddox and Mango Bay in St. James, and Leamington Pavilion in St. Peter, were the creation of the one and only Oliver Messel. Still others, revealed in these pages, are the dreams and whimseys of owners, working with today’s creative architects, inspired by the magic of the Barbadian landscape and our rich architectural heritage.”
Barbadians build beautiful buildings.