Why Use Local Consultants
BY DONOVAN BAGWELL, FCIOB, APES HILL CLUB, DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
FEBRUARY 20 2015
As a foreign investor should I utilize consultant services from my home country or should I appoint a team of local consultants in Barbados? What would be the pros and cons?
This is a common query raised by purchasers and developers that are unfamiliar with the construction industry in Barbados. Despite being a relatively small island nation, Barbados is blessed with a mature and sophisticated construction sector, with consultants capable of undertaking the entire spectrum of construction projects.
I have worked with both overseas and local consultants on a number of large commercial, hospitality and residential projects and whilst overseas consultants may possess experience and knowledge that is valuable to the development of specialist projects, i.e. Hospitals, Data Centres, Prisons, or have established relationships with developers, the involvement of a local consultant, as the lead consultant, is paramount.
Local consultants are experienced in the application of local codes and regulations, which differ significantly from US or UK building codes, regulations, design guides or building notes, and are able to ensure that such codes and regulations are met effectively and economically.
It is often overlooked that developing in a tropical environment presents some unique environmental challenges and considerations. Again, the involvement of a local consultant, experienced in designing buildings for a tropical climate, will ensure that these factors are considered and addressed during the design phase. An experienced local consultant will ensure that your project takes advantage of trade wind breezes, the changing daily sun position whilst also ensuring that the seismic and hurricane requirements are fully addressed and providing renewable energy and energy efficient solutions.
In addition, local consultants can add value to the development or project with an unrivalled experience of local construction methods, including the opportunities and limitations, ‘best practices’ in design and construction and even cultural diversity. All of which will effect the success of a development, the final product and ultimately the end user. Although, overseas consultants may have specialist experience in a particular sector of the construction industry or form of building, one should consider that the building is being developed in Barbados, and the value that a local consultant, in the role of lead consultant, can add to ensure that the regulations, codes and idiosyncrasies of building in Barbados are addressed and the opportunities are maximised to achieve a successful project.
The skills and experience required to develop a wide range of buildings and structures already exist, here in Barbados.