Market conditions in Barbados, in-line with the current global turndown, have resulted in more favourable tender prices for clients, whom only two years ago often struggled to solicit competitive bids, such was the overheated nature of the construction sector.

Professional Consultants

There are several good Architectural, Engineering Project Management and Quantity Surveying firms in Barbados and local association websites are listed on this page.

Majority of the consultants work in both metric and imperial measurements.

Building codes

There is a published building code dated 1993 in Barbados but it is not a legal document yet. However, all the professional consultants design to international standards (either US, UK or the local building code).

Planning process

The local Town and Country Planning Department are responsible for granting planning permission for all the erection of all structures in Barbados. It is normal practice for architectural concept or schematic drawings to be submitted for approval. All submissions must be made by a local consultant.

Contractors

There are several good quality contractors in Barbados capable of building small, medium and large projects. There is a local Contractors Association by the name of Barbados Contractors Association.

Over a year ago, it was difficult to get contractors to quote for projects but since the global downturn, the work has dried up and an increasing number of contractors are quoting for projects. Similarly, some  labour resources over a year ago had to be imported but there appear to be sufficient resources readily available in Barbados.

Construction costs

Construction costs in Barbados vary depending on the nature of the project but listed below is an indication of costs for typical standard developments:

Air-conditioned office building$250 – $350/s/f
Medium income home$225 – $325/sf
High income homeUpwards of $350/sf
Steel frame warehouse building$100 – $150/sf
Mid-end condominiums$280 – $400/sf
High-end condominiums$500 – $700/s
Note: Prices above are in Barbados dollars.

Construction Material Prices Q4

All the major funding institutions lend to overseas buyers, but each bank has its own independent procedures for approval of loans.

New Developments

Up until the fourth quarter 2009, a number of tourism-related construction projects were put on standstill due to the global recession. Over the last quarter of 2009 some developments showed signs of starting in 2010/2011. There are a number of promising projects for the next two to three years which with the aid of overseas funding should help boost the economy of Barbados. Amongst these are the completion of the Four Seasons Development & Marina works at St. Peter’s Bay, which is scheduled for completion early 2011, and the Beachlands development, with an anticipated start date of mid-2010. Established projects such as the Villas at Royal Westmoreland are ongoing.

Forecast Escalation:

The forecast of costs is by no means an exact science, and depends heavily on the source of information procured. Not only must local markets be researched and considered, but also those global markets which directly affect the construction markets in the Caribbean region. This is especially true of those countries within and without the region which manufacture raw materials as well as finishes items. Therefore, influences are truly global, inasmuch that whilst, traditionally, materials and goods have generally been procured from fellow Americas markets, raw and finishes materials are now also imported from countries such as Indonesia and China in the far east to European countries such as Italy and Germany for specialist finishes items such as kitchens and tiling.

In order to arrive at the following forecasts, we have therefore considered world markets as well as our local markets, where we have researched basic costs of materials, plant and labour as well as analysing indicative construction costs.

Consolidated Labour, Plant and Material
20100.20%
20113.50%
20121.90

Notes: Cost research on an ongoing basis includes, but is not restricted to the following cost elements, which represent common costs of construction within the region. A weighting has then been applied to proportion the percentage of the value of each element against a notional whole project cost:

Material

  • 8″ Hollow-core Concrete Block
  • Ready-mix Concrete 4000 psi pump mix
  • Washed Concrete sand
  • Aggregate, 3/4″
  • Cement
  • 3/4″ rebar
  • 5/8″ plywood
  • 30lb Roofing Felt
  • 2″ x 8″ pressure treated rafter
  • Plaster Sand
  • 1/2″ regular sheetrock
  • Semi-gloss latex based white paint
  • 16″ x 16″ ceramic floor tiles
  • Hollow-core flush door 3′ 0″ x 6′ 8″
  • Copper tubing 3/8″ diameter

Plant

  • Dump truck -12 cy
  • Backhoe
  • D3
  • Excavator, 20 tonne

Labour

  • Labourer, non-skilled
  • Skilled carpenter
  • Steel fixer
  • Painter/ finisher
  • Tiler
  • Mason (excl. helper)
  • Plumber (excl. helper)
  • Electrician
  • Foreman/ Supervisor

About the Author

Sanjay Amin
Sanjay Amin - Director, BCQS

Sanjay Amin FRICS ACIArb - Chartered Surveyor, BCQS International is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and a director of BCQS International. He was educated in Kenya and the United Kingdom where he completed his secondary education at Durham School before undertaking a degree in Quantity Surveying at Newcastle Upon Tyne. Following graduation, he worked in London for Gardiner & Theobald, one of the largest firms of Chartered Quantity Surveyors in the world, gaining experience on a variety of commercial, retail and educational projects including offices, business parks, warehouses, industrial developments, shopping centres and leisure centres. After 12 years, he left Gardiner & Theobald in 1997 as an Associate Partner to open BCQS's office in the British Virgin Islands. In 2002, Sanjay and his fellow Directors decided to open an office in Barbados. In 2006, Sanjay moved to Barbados with his family to expand the company's operations. In January 2011 under Sanjay's guidance, BCQS opened an office in Trinidad. Sanjay's experience in the Caribbean includes managing a variety of commercial, residential, resort, airport, hospital and industrial projects in Barbados, Trinidad and the Eastern Caribbean. Further information on these projects can be found on www.bcqs.com. Sanjay Amin's other key qualifications and skills are listed below: Specialist in design and build projects in the United Kingdom. Specialist in whole life costing of materials in the United Kingdom (Life cycle costs). Member of the steering committee on concrete structures in the United Kingdom. Club Service Director of Rotary Club of Tortola (2004 - 2005). Member of the Rotary Club of Barbados (current). Assessor for membership into the RICS. Chairman of the RICS Caribbean Board (2010 - Current). Voluntary mission to Haiti on behalf of the RICS (2009). Current member of the RICS Americas Construction Council. Member of the RICS Global Governing Council (2013-2017).