Housing sector receives massive blow from Hurricane Maria

Dominica’s housing sector was severely affected by Maria

Dominica’s housing sector received a massive $1-billion blow from Hurricane Maria, preliminary assessments have shown.

And the figure is expected to rise when the assessment is complete, Housing Minister, Reginald Austrie said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

According to Austrie, 90 percent of the housing stock of 31,352 homes were damaged by the hurricane, while ten percent suffered no damage at all.

He gave a breakdown of the damages.

Austrie explained that 15 percent of the housing stock was “slightly damaged,” which is equivalent to 3,646 homes.

“And by slightly damage, we mean about 10 percent of the roof was lost,” he stated.

The next category is “moderately damaged.”

“Ten percent of the housing stock was moderately damaged and that would involve some 50 percent of the roof gone and the total number of homes so far was 5,332,” Austrie stated.

Forty percent of the housing stock fell in in the category of “heavily damaged.”

Austrie explained in that category, 100 percent of the roof was lost and ten percent of other aspects, such as windows and doors, were damaged.

This amounted to 12,500 homes, he stated.

Austrie stated that 6,731 homes fell under the next category of “completely destroyed.”

“Meaning flat down, everything flat down,” he remarked.

In light of the destruction of homes, Austrie pointed out that a review of the building code on the island is underway.

“We have set out to review our own building code and to look at building codes from other jurisdictions, Miami in particular which has suffered from severe storms and hurricanes and in looking at all those building codes and to see where we fell short, where our building codes were lacking,” he stated.

He said that Dominica’s building codes are “sort of okay” but the supervision and application of those codes are lacking.

Austrie said many take shortcuts and not constructing homes properly. They don’t utilize hurricane ties, place the rafters too far apart, use less steel, use poor quality concrete and roofing material

“Some of those issues we begin to discover could have been responsible for the massive damage that we suffered in the housing sector,” he remarked. “Analysis has to be done on that but I believe that is a starting point: supervision of the construction and how we address that situation moving forward.”



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  1. Let The Truth Be Known - Original
    November 26, 2017

    Some skimp on materials. They are well-paid to build the homes. In fact, they set their own cost but do not build properly as they should. It is theft. Do they not know that they commit a sin and a crime? I can tell you this is a worldwide problem.
    This is a private matter between the builders and the owners and the builders cannot be fired. In fact, the owners may not know about their skimping habit. However, if the builders/contractors worked for a big establishment and they were found out, they would be fired and up to the CEO, other executives and managers who may have turned a blind eye to it and did not care..
    The government, the department which is responsible for constructing buildings and granting permits must ensure that the builders practice honesty and adhere to proper regulations.
    The buildings should be inspected by the authorities while under construction.

  2. Anthony Ismael
    November 24, 2017

    Code Compliance? Really? Not in Dominica, except for those who can afford to spend a small fortune to construct a home.

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      November 25, 2017

      Anthony, there is something known as “the status quo” which has long become the greatest obstacle in the way of development in our country! When people are not prepared to change, they remain backward, and stagnant! you are interested in people erecting four walls without a toilet, covered with galvanize.

      With that continued method of building, will cause Dominica to suffer the same fate every time! I know it hard for some people to change, I am one of them: My grandchildren came to celebrate thanks giving with me, my cellular rang, I picked up to answer, the kids began to laugh, coming to find out they were laughing at my old flip phone.

      They all are sporting smart phone which cost more than a thousand dollars each, my oldest grandson has two; when ask him why he has to phones that expensive, he told me one brake down he simply use the other! So, I have to change with the times, and get into the twenty-first century, that should apply to Dominica also!

      We mus change the…

  3. Connecting the dots
    November 23, 2017

    When Skerrit and his whalers were on a drive to distribute corrupt passport money I am on DNO record warning Dominican that they should not take Skerrit’s money to build house or put flushing toilet less they suffer a serious loss and instead of taking heed people were all over on DNO calling me all kinds of names. However in less than six months latter we see the massive devastation in the housing sector in particular, all over Dominica. WHEN WE PLAY WITH CURSE MONEY WE WILL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCIES OF THE CURSE, though some innocent one suffered as well. But as is the blessing so is the curse

  4. November 23, 2017


  5. November 23, 2017

    IRMA I agree with you 100 % I recall when we could buy a bag of cement for a reasonable prize, but its no longer so, we are poor people barely making a living we have to feed our kids, pay to send them 2 school just 2 name a few and put a roof over there heads , the government need to work with the hardware stores and give them tax breaks so they can lower there prize on building materials like bricks [blocks] plywood lumber cement then and only then we may see a different in code compliance I hope the politicians are reading your post and mine , thanks IRMA let us pray, they only come around when election is near, sad.

  6. Irma
    November 23, 2017

    Maybe you are right…but with the sky high costs of materials in Dominica, can you REALLY blame homeowners for doing itnthe cheap way?

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