Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change
ideas, in a more collaborative way, on how best to address
the housing crisis and to envision a housing market suited for
the next decade, and the next generation.
Priorities of the Housing Portfolio of MHURECC
The Honourable Pearnel Charles Jr., MP
Now more than ever, construction is vital to the Jamaican
economy. The PIOJ recently reported that in the last
quarter of 2020, the construction industry grew by 6.2
percent—against the backdrop of a 10.2 percent overall
decline in the Jamaican economy when compared with
Many other industries have not been as fortunate. The
construction industry is critical to national GDP and a major
employer of local labour. These critical factors make this
industry well-positioned to help Jamaica’s economy to
build back stronger in a post-COVID-19 world.
Public-Private Cooperation for Housing Supply
As construction practitioners, you are essential to building
homes and communities that make up the fabric of our
nation. A home is one of greatest single investments
most of us will ever make in our lives. It is the physical
representation of the legacies we will pass on to our children
and our loved ones. But for far too many Jamaicans, the
need for safe, quality, and affordable housing is either
unmet or under-served.
The partnership and innovation of developers and
construction industry professionals is essential to our efforts.
We have made significant strides over the past few years,
and now we raise our ambitions to build and deliver more
housing to Jamaicans. As a government, we have committed
to achieving 70,000 housing starts over the next five years.
This is in a bid to ensure that more Jamaicans have access
to safe, legal, and affordable housing solutions. Our multipronged
approach to the provision of affordable housing
includes pointed policy interventions and prioritizes public
private partnership arrangements.
The Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) has accomplished
many successful projects through joint venture agreements
with private partners. Two of the Agency’s most recent projects
include the development of 754 units at Edmund Ridge
Estates (formerly Rhyne Park) and 1,650 housing solutions at
Catherine Estates in Bernard Lodge, St. Catherine.
I encourage developers to continue investing in Jamaica,
especially now—even as it has not been easy to adjust
operations and face setbacks in the midst of the pandemic.
I am proud to collaborate with this esteemed group of
construction industry experts who work with excellence,
diligence and to the upliftment of the profession and for
the enhancement of the lives of Jamaicans, and support this
nation to recover: faster, stronger, better.
The Honourable Pearnel Charles Jr., MP
Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and
We have an immense task before us as a nation to address
the housing crisis—a challenge that will require the
collaboration of Government with the private sector. The
recent national conversations around affordable housing
has given us the welcomed opportunity to exchange
Welcome to the second issue of Builders Jamaica magazine. Before I
do anything else, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has
taken the time to read our inaugural issue published last December.
The response has truly been overwhelming. We have received many
phone calls, emails, and texts thanking us for putting out such a highquality
publication at this pivotal time for the building and construction
industry. We heard from readers that Builders Jamaica is a great tool to
provide information to players in the industry on best practices and new
ways of doing things while also bringing industry news to the forefront.
Again, we thank you for your support and look forward to bringing you
more exciting, engaging, and informative content with each new issue.
One of the overarching themes for this edition is the concept of building
your dream home. In addition to our cover story, which explores some of
the components that make a house a dream home, we explore the pros
and cons of modular construction as a potential solution to the housing
shortage in Jamaica. Also tying into the theme, our contributors explore
other elements that developers should consider as they plan their projects
and that buyers should look for as they contemplate a potential purchase.
These include the incorporation of smart home technology, proper tile
installation, and choosing the right windows. We also speak to the value of
having a registered architect and a land surveyor involved in the process.
In that vein, we also celebrate the work of various professionals in the
industry with profiles of some of the architects, surveyors, and contractors
who have helped and continue to help change the face of Jamaica. This
includes the winner of the 2020 Jamaica Institution of Engineers (JIE)
Project of the Year award, Port Royal Cruise Ship Development Project.
The vision behind Builders is to make the magazine the main source
of building and construction-related news and content in Jamaica.
Globally, the industry has weathered a very challenging 2020 and
it was no different locally. However, building and construction is a
resilient sector that will continue to adapt to the pace of change,
with many interesting stories arising. We look forward to chronicling
some of these stories in future issues of the magazine.
On that note, I want to thank the contributors who have come on the
journey with us so far. Your outstanding work has helped to get Builders
Jamaica off to an auspicious start. Here’s to the next steps ahead!
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Roles and Responsibilities for
Effective Strata Management
By Real Estate Board
Being responsible for a piece of real estate is a big deal.
Strata properties can be complicated to manage, so
it’s not unusual to employ experienced professionals
to handle the everyday logistics for the comfort of all
residents. In this article, the Real Estate Board Inspectorate
explains why proper strata management is important and
the roles and responsibilities of those put in charge.
The day-to-day management of a strata is the responsibility
of what is called an executive committee. While not
explicitly stated or legally mandated, best practice suggests
that the executive committee members should be honest,
communicate well, have some level of administrative
competence and experience, possess adequate financial
management aptitude, and most importantly, have the wellbeing
of the proprietors at heart. The executive committee
is elected at an annual general meeting (AGM) and consists
of at least three proprietors and may have a maximum of
The executive committee is responsible for managing
and administering the common areas for the benefit
of all proprietors. The committee is also charged with
keeping minutes of meetings, keeping proper accounting
records, presenting accounting records at AGMs of monies
collected, and facilitating the inspection of the accounts
by a proprietor or any other authorised person/entity,
including the Commission of Strata Corporations.
The execute committee is also responsible for the filing of
annual returns to the Commission within 120 days of the
end of a financial year. Annual returns include presenting
to the Commission audited financial statements or a copy
of the accounts prepared in accordance with generally
accepted accounting principles for the entire financial
period just ended, minutes of general meetings, and
proof of insurance coverage or a unanimous decision not
to insure. The Commission may also be contacted where
needed to provide guidance in the various areas of strata
Just as important as the role of the executive committee
is the role of individual unit owners. The payment
of contributions or maintenance is one of the main
responsibilities and ongoing costs associated with owning
a strata property. The exact amount is usually informed by
an agreed budget presented at a general meeting. This
contribution should be paid monthly, whether or not the unit
is occupied for an extended period of time, as it is mainly
used to maintain the outer/common areas such as the
roof, walkway, elevators, driveways, and recreational areas.
When an owner fails to pay his or her contribution, it puts
pressure on the others to make up the gap to be able to
meet its expenses. It’s worth noting that when a proprietor
fails to pay all or a part of the established contribution for
a period exceeding 30 days, the strata corporation has the
power to apply to the Commission to issue a power of sale
certificate for the property to be sold for the recovery of the
Unit owners should also have the interest of their fellow
proprietors at heart. They should consider how their
individual actions such as the non-payment of fees or breach
of by-laws can negatively affect the ability of others to enjoy
common areas as well as their personal space. In essence,
a sense of pride in personal ownership in tandem with an
abiding community spirit should make for effective strata
living and management for all parties.
Other considerations and responsibilities of owners include
general by-laws set out in the Registration (Strata Titles) Act.
If not provided, owners should ask the developer or seller of
the unit to provide a copy of the by-laws that apply to the
Finally, developers, prior to the handing over of the units,
must take steps to set the foundation for the long-term
success and viability of the property. The developer should
ensure that the first annual general meeting for the strata
corporation is held within 90 days of registration of the
property. It’s critical that at this meeting, the following are
1. Presentation of a budget outlining the proposed
maintenance charges apportioned according to unit
entitlement (or ownership share)
2. Presentation of peril insurance coverage quotations for
the corporation to vote on insurance coverage and provider
(otherwise there must be a unanimous vote not to insure)
3. Election of an executive committee
4. Ensure that the minutes of the meeting are taken.
If the various parties involved play their respective roles,
acting in good faith and in accordance with the law, it
should make for sound strata management and harmonious
1. Permitting the corporation, at all reasonable times
and on notice (except in cases of an emergency), to
enter his or her strata lot for the purpose of inspecting
and making necessary repairs or maintenance to wires,
ducts, cables, and pipes within that unit which may affect
other units or the common property.
2. Repairing and maintaining his or her strata unit and
keep it in a good condition.
3. Using and enjoying the common property in a manner
that does not unreasonably interfere with or inconvenience
Additionally, a proprietor should not use his or her unit
for any purpose which may be illegal or harmful to the
reputation of the property; make undue noise in his or
her unit or common area; or keep any animals in the unit
or common area, contrary to a decision of the executive
committee not to allow the keeping of animals.
Real Estate Board
Unit owners must, therefore, familiarise themselves with
the by-laws that govern the particular property and/or the
Sandals Overwater Bungalows
Photos: Wepro Construction
Wepro Construction Limited
When Israel Carmet landed in Jamaica from Spain in
2007, he had one main task at hand: to successfully
manage the construction of two new five-star hotels—
Secrets St. James and Secrets Wild Orchid—being built at
Montego Bay Freeport. As the project manager for Seawind
Key Investments, the company funding the resorts, he
oversaw the completion of the five-star, 700-room sister
hotels (350 rooms each), which feature a combined total
of nine restaurants, nine bars, a theatre, a convention
centre, a gaming lounge, a spa, and other facilities. After
the hotels opened with much fanfare in April and May
2010, Carmet had a decision to make: move on to the next
Seawind project or stay in Jamaica and take the leap into
entrepreneurship, using everything he had learned over
the course of his 11-year career in construction. He chose
the latter path and in October 2010, Wepro Construction
Limited was born. The number and scope of successful
projects Wepro has completed in the ensuing decade
proves Carmet made the right choice.
Wepro started off with small jobs in the hospitality sector,
with its first project being the construction of a restaurant
at the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa. Things
really took off in 2012 when the company was awarded the
Karisma Hotels & Resorts bid to transform the former Sandy
Bay Beach Resort in Negril into a premier all-inclusive
property with two pools, four specialty restaurants, a spa,
spaces for various activities and entertainment, and a kid’s
“We basically rebuilt the structure using the same bones.
It was a huge transformation but it was challenging
because the timeline was very tight and when we
started demolition, we found a lot of structural issues,”
recalled Carmet. The biggest of these issues was the fact
that some sections of the old structure did not have proper
foundations. After correcting this problem, Wepro worked
with a construction team comprising mostly Negril locals
to complete the project, which is now part of the Azul
Sensatori Hotel. They initially had four months to complete
the transformation, but the drastic change in the scope of
work saw the timeline extending to nine months.
Since then, Wepro has gone on to cement itself as a
preferred construction partner in the tourism, commercial
development, and specialty residential marketplace in
Jamaica. The company has racked up an impressive list of
credits, including creating the new swim-out pools at Hyatt
Ziva Rose Hall; refurbishing the Club Mobay VIP Lounge,
check-in terminal, and public bathrooms at the Sangster
International Airport; building the U.S. Ambassador’s
signature residence in Jack’s Hill, St. Andrew, and
constructing three sections (office, warehouse, and utility
buildings) of the new JPS plant in Old Harbour Bay, St.
Catherine. However, the most glittering gem in its crown
is the 17-unit, over-water villas and bungalows project
constructed for Sandals Royal Caribbean, right off the
property’s private island.
Over-water accommodations have been the hallmark
of vacation and honeymoon hotspot the Maldives for
decades, but it wasn’t until 2016 that they came to the
Caribbean, the fruition of a long-held dream for Sandals
Resorts International CEO Adam Stewart. Wepro was the
company chosen to manage general contractor duties. The
spectacular luxury accommodations were completed in
two phases, starting with five villas, a concierge building,
and a facilities building perched on a deck floating above
MBJ Check-in Terminal
JPS Power Plant
the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, connected by
an over-water walkway. The villas boast see-through glass
floors for ocean viewing, over-water hammocks, soaking
tubs for two out on the water, and private infinity pools. The
second phase consisted of 12 palapa-style bungalows and
a housekeeping building joined by a heart shaped walkway.
Each expansive patio features a soaking tub for two, an overthe-water
hammock, an outdoor shower, and a suspended
patio with a swim-up platform, while the interiors also boast
sea-through glass floors and spacious, spa-style bathrooms.
Another major win for Wepro was Hospiten Montego
Bay, a modern, private hospital offering health security
for the local tourism industry—the second city has the
nation’s highest concentration of resort properties—and
also serving the local community. Carmet and his team
oversaw the construction of the 27-bed, high-end facility
which features two operating theatres, a five-bed intensive
care unit, seven emergency boxes, a labour room, eight
outpatient offices, and all needed departmental offices.
“They had started operating a little clinic in Half Moon
Rose Hall. We actually fixed that clinic for them and built
another clinic for them at the historic Falmouth Cruise
Port. There was already a previous relationship and when
they decided to build the hospital, we did the tender and
won,” said Carmet. “It was a very interesting project, very
technical, as you can imagine. The theatres have their
own isolated and very specific ventilation system. All the
mechanical and electrical systems are very sophisticated.”
The project was developed in collaboration with Hospiten
and their technical team and engineers in Spain. Carmet
stated that it was challenging because of the technical
considerations that had to be adhered to for a health
facility, but everyone rose to the occasion and completed
the build in 16 months. “As a resident of Montego Bay and
Ironshore, I’m very happy that we now have a high-end
hospital in the neighbourhood,” he added.
Over the years, Wepro has kept true to its guarantee of
providing the highest standards of quality construction
solutions by utilising new and innovative techniques on
the island. For instance, they have been using shotcrete to
build swimming pools and help complete other projects
in a more timely and efficient manner. They first used this
method when creating the pools at Azul Sensatori. They
have also been using helical piles to provide foundational
support for building projects, especially those close to the
sea. Four years ago, they acquired their own equipment for
this purpose. “We try to be more efficient and to get better
quality work done. We are now starting conversations with
an overseas company on doing precast concrete,” said
Precasting offers advantages of both quality and speed,
which will help Wepro be better able to compete against
other local contractors and international players in the
Today, Wepro is constantly growing and evolving, even
as the industry changes. Carmet noted that 2020 was a
slow year, but the company is “reinventing and starting
to focus more in other areas.” These include moving into
the premixed concrete business under the name Wepro
Industrial, which already has two operative batching plants,
and a carpentry business focused on doors and furniture
under the name Madera Wood.
The company is also currently working on the forthcoming
five-star Grand Luxury Princess Hotels and Resorts in Green
Island, Hanover. Over in the nation’s capital, Wepro is also
busy managing the refurbishing of the former Oceana
Hotel, which will reopen as ROK, Kingston in the near
future. “I think Wepro is now in a place where I am very
comfortable, so I see us in a similar place but with bigger
projects,” he stated. “We are not abandoning our villas and
residential projects. I like it and it’s a very stable market,
along with the bigger commercial projects. I am pretty
confident that if we are creative and innovative, we will be
able to survive and grow.”
Photo: Andrew Grey / Atelier Vidal
Admit it: you have a Pinterest board exclusively
dedicated to pictures of what you want your dream
home to look like. Pinterest not your thing? How
about the countless hours you’ve devoted to drinking
in everything HGTV has to offer, or testing out your
renovating skills on the Design Home app? Even if you’ve
never done any of these things, you’ve definitely pictured
it in your mind—your dream home. That wonderful oasis
you would build or buy if you got a sudden windfall
or that you long to call your own after years of saving.
Kitchen: Atelier Vidal
It may be a huge, two-storey mansion in the hills with an
awe-inspiring view out to the Caribbean Sea, or a more
rustic abode that puts a contemporary spin on your
grandmother’s board house in the country. Perhaps it’s
a sleek, edgy urban condo tricked out with all the latest
smart home technology or a posh villa-style residence near
the ocean. You know exactly how you want your dream
home to look and all the basics and add-ons that will truly
make it your castle. We hope you find some inspiration
from these photos.
Nothing Boring About These Basics
There are standard rooms that every home, let alone
a dream home, must have. These include a kitchen,
living area, master bedroom/suite, and bathroom.
It’s your dream home, so you get to have the best
and most stylish of everything for these essentials.
Kitchen: Cenitech Engineering Solution
It’s the heart of the home and good food—the way to your
heart—is lovingly prepared there. Make it sumptuous! If
clean lines and modern finishes are your thing, then
these kitchens done by Vidal Atelier (top) and Cenitech
Engineering Solutions (bottom) should definitely inspire
It’s where family and friends gather to relax, so make it
comfy and welcoming. You can go bold with traditional
furniture and finishes, or select sleeker, streamlined
pieces if you prefer contemporary or modern styles. And
if your taste is more eclectic, there’s nothing wrong with
mixing and matching elements from your favourite styles
to create your signature look. That’s what dreams are
This is your personal oasis, so go all out! Plush, comfortable
bedding? Check! A sitting area where you can kick
your feet up for conversations? Check! Elegant drapery
to create a stunning backdrop (or blinds, if you prefer)?
Check! A chandelier for a touch of sparkle and glam? By
all means! Colourful artwork to add the finishing touch?
Go right ahead! Wall-to-wall carpeting or a specially selected
area rug? It’s up to you! This is your world, after all.
Your dream bedroom suite isn’t complete without a massive
walk-in closet, is it? Even better, his-and-hers closets
so no one can accuse you of hogging all the space. If
you’re building your dream home from scratch or doing
a renovation, you can work the closet(s) into the design.
Otherwise, you can customize this essential storage
space by working with an interior designer to create your
desired look and layout.
Walk-in Closet: Exotic Stones
Bathroom: Proper Construction
If the master bedroom is your oasis, then the master bath
should be your personal spa. This massive bathroom done
by Proper Construction provides some inspiration. Start
with a nice, deep tub so you can get your soak on—whether
it’s sleek and modern in both style and shape, jetted, or
traditional clawfoot is up to you. You can go all out with the
shower, too—think rain shower head or go big with multiple
jets. If you’re a techie, install a smart shower system, too.
Enjoy the ‘extras.’ You’ve earned it!
What’s a dream home in Jamaica without a pool, right?
Splash out, man! A lap pool is a great way to cool off on
hot days. You can get creative with the shape, or go for a
dramatic effect with an infinity edge style. You can also take
your design cues from the overall aesthetic of your home.
This pool at the COCOSAN villa is Port Antonio mirrors the
warm, tropical modern style of the outdoor space.
Photo: Andrew Grey / Atelier Vidal
NHT's Guaranteed Purchase
Programme for Developers
By National Housing Trust
Photos: National Housing Trust
In 2018, investment watchdog Bloomberg, declared
the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) as the best
performing stock market in the world. The financial tech
conglomerate, indicated that the country’s main index
experienced a 29 percent increase in U.S. dollar terms
with stocks catapulting by 300 percent, outperforming
the 500 companies listed on the Standard and Poor’s
index; a first for the island. That’s a big deal.
While this nascent economy still experiences some
obscurity when compared to other investment markets,
the recognition has done quite a bit to get the attention
of global investors who are now looking to dock their
capital on our banks. As a result, consumer confidence in
the Jamaican market has improved and the demand for
housing has tripled in the last decade where Jamaicans
both at home and abroad have been clamoring to
own ‘a piece of the rock’.
While some housing developers have already taken
advantage of the increase in demand, others, based on
size and slow moving inventory have not yet tapped into
In response, the National Housing Trust (NHT), introduced
the Guaranteed Purchase Programme (GPP) in November
2018. A groundbreaking approach to housing development,
the GPP augments the mandate of the Trust to provide
23,000 housing starts by 2021 while creating opportunities
for investment for private developers.
It’s a viable opportunity that allows developers to focus on
conceptualising and executing their development plans
while the NHT absorbs the market risk, by purchasing all
the units in the development or part thereof. By doing
this, the NHT is able to leverage the efficiencies within
the private sector to deliver housing projects at lower
costs, within faster timeframes and with the private partner
assuming most of the implementation risks.
• Delivery Schedule
costs, within faster timeframes and with the private
partner assuming most of the implementation risks.
The developers have sole responsibility for
designing, implementing, maintaining and closing
out the projects. The completed units will be made
available to NHT contributors using NHT financing
options for which they have to be qualified.
What does this mean in simple terms? You build, we buy.
It’s really that simple. As at June 2020, 44 developments
were either approved or are being evaluated for suitability
by the NHT. The parishes of St. Thomas, Portland, St. Ann,
St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland, and St. Elizabeth,
Manchester, Clarendon and St. Catherine are home to
NHT contributors have much to gain from this
Programme. They' ll be able to access these modern,
diverse and attractive privately developed units using
the NHT’s 100 percent financing facility for scheme
purchases, coupled with other NHT value propositions to
include our low interest rates and grants.
So whether you’re well-established or a small
developer, the GPP presents a guaranteed opportunity
to invest in housing while creating possibilities
for home ownership for thousands of Jamaicans.
NHT, a pillar of partnership and investment…and always
the key to your home.
Criteria for Approval of GPP Proposals
Status of development (designs, approvals and/or
Copy of Registered Certificate of Title for the project lands
• Floor plans indicating room sizes, fixtures and finishes
• Expansion plans
Proposed selling prices to NHT:
• For each delivery, if done in phases conditions of price
adjustment (if any) and basis of same
• Particulars of developers including: address of developer
• Directors and key shareholders Certificate of Incorporation
• Registration with the Real Estate Board
• Current Tax Compliance Certificate
For more information on NHT's Gauranteed Purchase
Programme (GPP) contact the National Housing Trust.
How Do I Get My Proposal Approved?
To facilitate the assessment of each proposal, the
following minimum information must be included:
• Project name
Land Surveyors 33
Quantity Surveyors 35
Construction & Contractors 38
Engineers & Developers 42
Man is a part of nature. That is one of the central
tenets that guides the design ethos of Virtuoso
Architect Limited, helmed by architects and directors
Hugo Matthews, Euhon Darling, and Sheldon Morris. The
principle is demonstrated in their commitment to honouring
the environments in which their projects are built as well
as their signature Jamaican tropical modern aesthetic. It’s
as sleek and chic as anything you might find in first world
urban centres but also captures the vibrancy and warmth
of Jamaica in the materials and textures used, as well as
an emphasis on creating unexpected spaces for communal
“What drives a lot of developments is profits,
but what we find is that architecture is really
about people and we like to design for the
said Matthews. “With all our designs, we focus on the
common areas and spaces as much as possible.”
Matthews and Darling met as first-year students of the
Caribbean School of Architecture at the University of
Technology, Jamaica. Morris was a year ahead of them in
Photos: Virtuoso Architect
the same programme. There, they engaged in discourse
on what constitutes Jamaican and Caribbean style and
eventually perfected the aesthetic for which they have
now become known. “Myself and Euhon have a similar
expression of what is modern architectural style in the
Caribbean. That’s how everybody started to describe it,”
said Matthews. “Sheldon’s style was a little different but still
very clean. When we started the firm, we approached him
and asked if he would like to join us. Our styles complement
each other and we work well together.”
Since its establishment in 2014, Virtuoso has left its mark
on several key areas in Kingston and St. Andrew and St.
James, with more than 24 projects either completed or in
the works. To say they started with a bang would be a bit
of an understatement, considering the fact that their very
first project was 20 South, a $1.2 billion undertaking that
caused quite a stir, being the first high-rise to be erected
in the busy South Avenue corridor. The 10-storey luxury
complex consists of 79 apartments, each with solid wood
kitchen cabinets, quartz countertops, porcelain floors,
and nine- to 10-foot high ceilings. Each unit also boasts
aluminum powder coated casement windows, providing
panoramic views of the city. High-end amenities include
a rooftop entertainment area, an infinity
edge pool, and a mini-golf green. Safety
is another important feature, and 20 South
is an earthquake-resistant building that can
also withstand hurricane winds of up to 200
Once 20 South became a reality, other
projects started coming along in quick
succession. There were projects to design
and implement as well as others to manage,
from residential to commercial. These
include Valley Vista, a 38-unit townhouse
spread in Stony Hill and Parkhurst One,
another luxury high-rise in the same vicinity
as 20 South. Virtuoso also worked on 76
Half Way Tree, the sleek business process
outsourcing (BPO) company invested by
Usain Bolt; the edgy, new Bert’s Auto Parts
building on Molynes Road, and the stateof-the-art
Fontana Pharmacy commercial
complex at the intersection of Waterloo
Road and West Kings House Road.
The company currently has two residential
projects in development that are again
generating quite a buzz and pay homage to
their signature style in all its glory. First up
is Spyglass, an upscale, multi-family complex consisting of
apartments and townhouses located on approximately six
lush hillside acres along Tavistock Terrace in St. Andrew. The
development will consist of several six-level blocks. While
the complex will have a communal pool, each townhouse
will also have its own pool. There will be a gazebo for
activities like yoga, along with outdoor entertainment areas
that take advantage of the immaculate views out to the
The design of Spyglass had to take several factors into
consideration, including the fact that Tavistock Terrace is
already an established residential area, so the panoramic
views long enjoyed by other residents on the hillside could
not be disrupted. “What we did was ensure that the highest
level of the apartment blocks is still below the level of the
roof of the house behind it. So somebody from their house
standing on their deck will be able to look over the tops
of the apartments,” explained Matthews. “And if you’re
coming up on Tavistock Terrace, you’ll be able to see the
sign that says Spyglass but you won’t be able to see the
units because they’re so far pushed back and properly
landscaped that it seems forested.”
He continued, “We also chose the colours wisely: muted
colours that blend in with the surroundings. You’re in the
hills and it must feel lush like the hills, so even though it’s
a very modern design, we used features like verandahs,
gazebos, water, trellises, stone, and wood textures—a lot of
the things we love—to really mould these modern buildings
into a Jamaican tropical aesthetic.”
The next project is 39 Wellington, in the Old Hope Road/
Mona Road area. The look of this building is a bit more on
the ultra-modern end of the spectrum—“almost as if you
can pluck it out of Jamaica and put it into any first world
country,” according to Matthews, but it is still built with
Jamaica in mind.
39 Wellington consists of two six-storey blocks connected
by two bridges. There are the customary communal areas
such as the pool, but the real standout feature is the canopy
area that meets in the middle of the two blocks, connected
by the lower bridge. “The whole experience of moving
through the building is modern, holistic living. Amenities
abound, connected in a way that allows interaction and
connection. It’s not just moving through dead space to
get to your apartment,” explained Sekou Samuels, lead
architect on the project. “Our philosophy has always been
to bring nature into the building, not just on the ground
floor, but all floors so all the residents in the building have
access to nature. In Jamaica, we live in nature.”
The Virtuoso team has other projects in the pipeline,
including their first foray into the wider Caribbean market
with a build in Guyana. Plans are also afoot to develop a fullservice
design/build firm. Looking further into the future,
Matthews has his eyes on even bigger things: tackling
urban planning with a city-wide design. “I want to be able
to put all the elements into a city—a massive planning and
execution project, instead of just designing one lot or two
lots separated by miles,” he shared. “It would be wonderful
if we could actually design an entire city—acreages of
planning, so once you drive into this new city, you can see
all the different architectural elements working together:
residential, recreational, streets, education zones, and so
on. We want to be able to design for a city-wide plan to
ensure that the designs, once they’re implemented, are
easily expandable and it works for the citizens and people
Is Your Architect Registered?
By The Jamaica Institute of Architects
Recently, it was revealed that a major public project was
facing considerable financial overrun, unbeknownst
to the client. When inquiries were made as to the
nearly 65 percent increase, no one could advise him
where the extra money had been spent. The building,
still unfinished and considerably over budget, was now
saddled with questions as to the cause of this inflation.
After due investigation, it was revealed that an architect was
not engaged on the project. But why is this of significance?
An architect’s primary role is to ensure that a building
project is designed and built to specifications determined
by the client and professional team, and that the project
stays within the approved budgetary restraints. Additionally,
architects operate by a professional code of integrity,
technical competency, artistic ability, and business capacity.
An architect is trained and licensed to provide you with a
building design that is functional, fail-safe, and full of flair.
Here are four ways working with an architect is beneficial.
• Architects are Registered and Legal
• Architects Keep the Job on Target
• Architects Keep The Job on Budget
• Architects Keep Contractor’s In-Check
Architects are Registered and Legal
Just like doctors and lawyers, every architect in Jamaica
is issued a certificate and registration number as proof of
their legal eligibility to practice. They are also provided with
a stamp and seal. If the person isn’t licensed to practice,
they’re not legal and there are considerable risks involved in
working with them. As a potential client, you can ask for proof
of their registration and license to practice architecture.
Being licensed also means that any act of fraud such as not
completing the work agreed to after accepting money from
a client, can result in that architect receiving disciplinary
actions such as fines or being removed from the register,
rendering them unable to practice.
The laws of Jamaica also protect the title ‘architect,’ so much
so that people who pretend to be architects and are caught
can be fined or imprisoned for up to a year. This particular
law, called the Architect’s Registration Act, was first ratified
in 1987 with subsequent amendments made to safeguard
In 2004, in an act of Parliament, the title ‘architect’ was
declared protected, limiting the use only to persons
registered as such by the Architects Registration Board of
Jamaica (ARB) and stating that, “no person, unless he is a
Registered Architect shall, in Jamaica – carry on the practice
Architects are also required to maintain their license and
each year, must earn Continuing Professional Development
(CPD) points. The aim of the CPD points is for architects
to maintain and improve on their existing skills as well to
broaden their knowledge in areas relevant to architecture;
ensuring that they not only evolve with the changing
technology and practices, but that they also maintain a high
level of competency.
ensuring that the building adheres to the design, approvals,
time schedule, and cost. The architect will undertake regular
visits to guard the client against any defects and deficiencies
in the works and keep them continually apprised of the
project during construction. Should further changes be
required, the architect is on hand to provide detailed
instructions. And perhaps most critically, the architect serves
as the conduit between the client and contractor. They are
unbiased and facilitate the timely delivery of the project as
designed and agreed upon.
So, Are You Ready to Use An Architect?
IIn the coming weeks, the ARB will be publishing a list of
persons licensed to practice architecture in Jamaica. The
list of more than 100 architects represents those who are
qualified and licensed to practice for 2021, and possess a
range of expertise from residential to commercial buildings
to sustainable design.
So now that you know what architects do, the efforts to
attain and maintain their registered status and licensure,
as well as the ethical code they are bound by, ensure that
you go for the real deal or don’t settle for an impostor. Do
source an architect who is a registered professional before
attempting any construction development or face the risks
by putting your project in the hands of someone completely
unqualified to undertake that task.
From the initial design to construction management,
architects ensure not only a high quality of service but also
a quality product.
Architects Keep The Job on Target and Within
Architects are trained to recognize and understand the
fiscal and contractual implications of the decisions taken
throughout a project.
Remember that unfortunate client with the public building
now significantly over budget? After construction began,
he was advised that severe weather conditions had resulted
in flooding—a major contributor to the cost overrun and
delays on the completion of the building. The due diligence
of a licensed architect requires them to make observations
and apprise the clients of potential risks, especially such as
building in a flood prone area. Architects don’t just design
“fancy” buildings, they design functional buildings that take
into consideration all environmental and economic factors.
Architects Keep Contractor’s In Check
Architects do more than just draw plans. During construction,
the architect serves as the administrator of the contract—
Timothy A. Thwaites CLS
The Surveyor's Seat at the Table
The building and construction industry appears to have
weathered this COVID-19 affected year better than
many. Several theories and explanations for this have
been posited with varying levels of hard evidence and
anecdote. The one thing beyond debate, however, is that
the phenomenon is real, and all industry players will be
doing their best to maximise on this stability in an otherwise
unstable economic environment.
All development projects require the input of several professionals
throughout its lifecycle, and in many instances the
involvement of a land surveyor has tended to be restricted
to the specific functions required under law and statutory
process. We could speculate as to whether this is to manage
costs and budgets, or to limit the numbers of ‘cooks’ in the
proverbial kitchen, but at the end of the day, there’s likely to
be limited value in micro-analysing how this came to be the
Land surveyors are regularly described as being the first in
and last out on the project site. However, with many critical
intermediary steps taking place without their input or
involvement, the surveyor needs to be there in the middle
Having been the first in, the surveyor has traversed the
entire site, seen it, and absorbed nuanced characteristics
that cannot be captured in spatial datasets, or gleaned
from cursory site visits. The surveyor will also have a very
intimate and practical understanding of the restrictions and
encumbrances of a Certificate of Title that may burden a
Many surveyors have had the experience of receiving a
set of approved plans to carry out fieldwork on site and
immediately seeing that something is wrong. They can
identify something ‘designed in breach’ of a restrictive
covenant, recognise that a legal boundary was inadvertently
disturbed in a drawing, or pick up on a design component
that would be better placed elsewhere on the site because
of something in an adjacent property.
This in-depth understanding of both the physical and
legislative aspects of a development means a surveyor
can mitigate against costly and time consuming redesigns,
impractical and unimplementable land use expectations,
inaccurate bills of quantity, etc. The value proposition is
clear, and it's to everyone’s benefit that the surveyor has a
more consultative role right throughout the process, outside
of the traditional tasks and deliverables.
Possibly the greatest justification for the consultant surveyor
is the fact that in developments for eventual sale, the
surveyor’s identification report is the last adjudicator of
whether there are any problems. At this point, any such
problem is likely cast in concrete and difficult or expensive
to remedy. No one wins in these entirely avoidable
situations, but unfortunately, they’re quite common.
We’re ready to take a seat at any table alongside the
developers, contractors, engineers, architects, and other
stakeholders to ensure that we all maximise benefits and
better serve the public as our industry pushes on through
these challenging times.
Photos: Robert Wan
Robert Wan - Wan Mears & Associates Ltd
After almost 40 years in the quantity surveyor field as an
employee, partner, mentor, and entrepreneur, Robert
Wan is a well-known, no-nonsense figure who has no
qualms with calling a spade a spade. “I’m the contentious
member of the construction team that gets the job done.
I am where I am now because of my belief in how things
are to be done,” said Wan, co-founder and director of
Wan Mears & Associates Limited. However, he’s more than
just a tough nut in an equally tough industry. Wan has a
soft spot for mentorship and the transfer of knowledge
to the younger generation of quantity surveyors.
Crucial to that is his teaching history at the University of
Technology, Jamaica from 1981 to 1987, where countless
graduates benefitted from his tutelage. Fortunately, some
are paying it forward to keep the profession alive. He still
maintains a good relationship with the institution and
trains students who have to do internship programmes to
complete their degrees. This transference of knowledge is
what grounds him as he wouldn't have gotten to where he
is without the help of others. That was embedded in him
since his days at B.G.W. Cawston & Partners and as a past
president of the Jamaican Institute of Quantity Surveyors.
As a mentor, he gives his mentees as much as they need
to know, including the discipline and dedication necessary
to thrive in the profession and not be led astray. “The
construction industry has its fair share of inexperienced
persons practicing in various professions, and I do not want
the quantity surveying graduates to end up doing all kinds
of ad-hoc work without the professional practice experience
which a quantity surveying firm can impart,” explained Wan.
It has always been about professionalism and competence,
which is evident in his 32-year tenure at B.G.W. Cawston
& Partners, of which 26 years was as a partner. Although
he flourished and developed an astounding level of
respect from staff and his colleagues, the itch to steer
his own ship eventually won out. He and Michael Mears,
a co-worker at the time, decided in 2015 that it was
time to form their own company that is now Wan Mears
& Associates Limited, a quantity surveying and project
management consultancy firm. They offer construction
project budgeting, cost estimating, contract arrangements,
and management services for residential, commercial, and
public developments. The list of projects in which Wan
has been involved throughout his career is quite dazzling.
On his own, he has been involved in more than 20 major
projects, many of which are essential buildings that serve
the nation. The University of the West Indies Basic Medical
Complex, Falmouth Hospital redevelopment, Cornwall
Regional Hospital renovations, G-West Medical Centre,
Port Authority, Montego Freeport factory buildings,
Holland Estate housing development, Green Pond housing
development, several luxury villas in Rose Hall, Texaco
service stations across the island, and the Sam Sharpe and
Westgate branches of the Bank of Nova Scotia are only a
few of his nation-building contributions.
Upon forming Wan Mears & Associates, there was no
slowing down. Even world-renowned hotspots like
Palmyra, Jewel Grande Montego Bay, Half Moon Oleander
development, Sandcastles Hotel, Jamaica Grande
Hotel, Hilton Rose Hall restoration, and Rick’s Café were
lucky enough to get the Wan treatment. Most recently,
his handiwork was involved in the quantity surveying
of Sagicor’s Millenium Mall in Clarendon, Sovereign
South Shopping Complex in Portmore, Sovereign North
Shopping Complex, and the FosRich Commercial Complex.
And if you’ve ever enjoyed the Appleton Estate Visitor’s
Centre and rum tour and the Long Pond Distillery, you
would have also benefited from his professionalism.
The list goes on and on, but long before starting his own
company, Wan began his journey at UTech, formerly
the College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST) and
continued his studies on a scholarship in quantity surveying
at the Polytechnic of Central London (now University of
Westminster), England, graduating in 1981. A part of his
scholarship agreement was to return to his alma mater and
pass on what he learned. As time progressed, he used his
platform to help transform the industry as a whole. Serving
on several committees, he most notably contributed to the
revision of the second edition of the Jamaican Standard
Method of Measurement of Building Works and the
Standard Form of Building Contract for use in Jamaica.
When all is said and done, Wan believes his most
important work is ensuring that those who pass through
his mentorship are equipped with the necessary training
to function properly in the industry. After that, they can go
out and practice the work of being a quantity surveyor with
the hope of having even half his longevity, professionalism,
leadership, and integrity.
CONSTRUCTION & CONTRACTORS
Could Modular Homes Help Solve
Jamaica’s Housing Deficit?
For many Jamaicans, owning a home is one of their
most important life goals. Unfortunately, this remains
an out-of-reach dream for most people due to the
steep cost of properties in housing developments and
apartment complexes. Others prefer the idea of buying
their land and building their home block by block, but
that is no less expensive in the long run and is often
hampered by poor planning and unforeseen challenges
and costs. There is a real need for more affordable
housing solutions if Jamaica is to close the housing
deficit, which would require the construction or repair
of 17,400 homes per year, according to a 2016 study by
the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), The State of
Social Housing in Six Caribbean Countries. One potential
solution is a concerted move toward modular homes.
Modular or prefabricated buildings are constructed in
sections or modules away from the building site, under
controlled factory conditions, using the same materials
and designing to the same codes and standards as those
built on-site. The modules are then transported to the
homeowner’s site and installed on a foundation that has
been prepared to meet the specifications of the home.
Modular construction is not a new concept. In fact, it’s
already extremely popular in countries such as Japan,
Germany, and Sweden. Locally, the move towards modular
construction can be traced back to the 1960s, with
companies like Leonard I. Chang Developments Limited
and the Jamaica Building and Development Company in
the forefront. Gore Developments and Matalon Homes are
other companies that have also utilized the prefab model
over the years. There are many examples of modular
homes in Jamaica, most notably in Portmore, St. Catherine.
The perception in the 1960s, which still remains, was that
these prefab homes were cheap and low-quality. However,
as building and construction technologies, methods, and
standards have evolved, so have they. Today’s prefab
homes are more customizable, easier to assemble, and
include a greater variety of features and materials. Many of
them can even rival the look and quality of some custom,
Lower Overall Cost – The cost of building a modular home
can be relatively more affordable than a traditional home
construction—up to 15 percent less, according to U.S.
figures. This is typically because the homes are made by
the same manufacturer so there is less possible downtime
and all costs are factored into your budget before the
CONSTRUCTION & CONTRACTORS
Reduced Labour Costs – With the home already
constructed, prospective homeowners won’t need to pay a
cadre of builders to get the job done.
High Quality – Since a modular home is built in a factory
setting, the building process is done under intense quality
control. Modular structures are built to meet or exceed the
same building codes and standards as site-built homes,
using the same materials as conventionally constructed
buildings: wood, concrete, and steel. Structurally, modular
buildings are generally stronger than site-built construction
because each module is engineered to independently
withstand the rigors of transportation and craning onto
Saves Time – A modular house takes a shorter time to
build because of automation, greater teamwork, and
repeatability. Factors that can cause delays and drive up
cost like bad weather and shortage of materials are also
avoided. Construction of modular buildings also usually
occurs simultaneously with site work, which enables
projects to be completed in half the time.
Better for the Environment – According to a recent U.K.
study, modular building produces up to 90 percent less
‘Cookie-cutter’ Look – Although modular homes can
be designed in a variety of configurations, you won’t
receive the same level of customisation as you would with
traditional construction. However, some modular homes—
especially single-family units—are designed in such a way
that owners can build add-ons, which gives them more
Few Suppliers – Locally, there aren’t any manufacturers
producing prefab homes for one-off purchase. They're
generally part of a housing development and can only
be purchased through the developer.
Land and Zoning Restrictions – If Jamaica does get to the
point where prefab homes become available for purchase
outside of planned developments, buyers would have to
consider the fact that some areas may not want or allow
modular homes. This is related to the perception that
modular homes are inferior and would drive down the
property value of other homes in the area. Buyers would
have to ensure the area where they intend to erect their
modular units allow and are properly zoned for it.
Low Resale Value – Also related to the low-quality
perception is the concern that homeowners wouldn’t be
able to sell their houses at a good price point. This might
be a major hurdle in Jamaica as many people equate value
with block houses, so a prefab home would be seen as a
Another important factor to consider in the Jamaican
context is whether the modular structure can withstand a
hurricane. This is often listed as a con for prefab homes,
despite the fact that they’re built with the same materials
as traditional concrete structures. However, as mentioned
earlier, the quality of prefab homes has improved over time
and those built for hurricane-prone areas are constructed
with storm resistance in mind.
It’s clear that modular construction is beneficial in certain
circumstances and would be a great option for some
buyers. However, it’s not without challenges and won’t
meet the desires of every prospective homeowner. Since
prefab construction is on the rise and represents a viable
alternative, it could be beneficial to invest in producing
these homes locally and making more options available
outside of planned development.
CONSTRUCTION & CONTRACTORS
Best Practices for
Workers Safe on Site
Occupational health and safety has always been a top priority in the
construction industry, where accidents have the potential to be
life-threatening. The onus is on both employers and employees
to ensure safety. The local Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2017
stipulates that it’s the duty of the employer to provide information,
instruction, supervision, assistance, and training to workers in support of
the occupational safety and health programme. Although the Act also
prescribes duties for workers to ensure their own safety and wellbeing
while on the job, as well as their right to refuse unsafe work, the overriding
emphasis is on the duties of employers as they control the work
environment, which puts the responsibility on them to manage the safety
and health risks. Following are eight ways in which construction bosses
and workers can reduce workplace accidents and promote site safety.
1. Make Site Inductions a Priority.
Every single worker on a construction site should be made aware of the
risks associated with the job and how to prevent them. This should be
done before the worker is allowed to start any tasks. Inductions allow
employers to provide workers with the site-specific health and safety
rules and requirements and any particular hazards of which they need
CONSTRUCTION & CONTRACTORS
to be aware. Ignorant workers are perhaps the biggest
dangers in any industry, as their unknowing mistakes
endanger them and everyone else on site. Understanding
the potential dangers at hand and having a keen sense
of alertness can help prevent accidents. Workers should
also be mindful to request an induction if none is offered.
2. Put up Safety Signs.
In addition to proper site inductions, construction safety
signs should be placed at strategic points throughout
the site so workers can have constant reminders. Workers
should be careful to always pay attention to signs.
3. Provide Proper PPE and Safety Gear and Insist on
Employers should never allow workers to be onsite without
the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) such
as hard hats, N95 respirators, work boots, goggles, highvisibility
vests, and any additional PPE required for the task
being carried out. Workers should ensure they wear their
PPE to protect themselves in the event of any accidents but
also from common work hazards such as dust particles and
chemical fumes, falling objects, or slip-and-fall situations.
PPE has also taken on added significance in light of
COVID-19. Masks should be mandatory for anyone who
works on the site or visits the premises to help prevent the
potential spread of the virus if someone is unknowingly
4. Ensure Scaffolding Safety.
All scaffolding should be assembled and disassembled by
competent persons. It should also be carefully inspected
before the start of work each day to ensure that it's safe
for use. According to the Occupational Health and Safety
Act (OHSA) in the United States, scaffolding should be
erected on solid footing, fully planked and at least 10 feet
away from power lines. Scaffolding should be erected with
guardrails, midrails, and toeboards to protect employees
working on, under, and around scaffolding. Workers should
ensure they wear hard hats, non-skid boots, and tool
lanyards when working on, under, or around a scaffold. This
helps protect them in the event of a fall and also protects
nets, and personal fall arrest systems. Workers should
familiarise themselves with all potential fall hazards on
a job site and ensure they don’t work in areas where fall
protection systems have yet to be installed. If they need
to use personal fall arrest systems, they should inspect
them before each use to ensure they are in good working
6. Provide Proper Tools and Equipment.
Without the proper equipment, you can’t have construction
site safety because there will always be an opportunity
to get injured or injure someone else using the wrong
tools and equipment. Employers should ensure that each
piece of equipment on the job site is ideally suited to the
task at hand and that all machinery and material are well
maintained. Workers should also report any equipment
that's not working properly and file the necessary incident
reports if any accidents or near misses occur as a result of
7. Keep a Tidy Site.
Never leave tools, equipment, or materials such as wires
and ropes lying about as they could become trip and
slip hazards. Also, ensure that access and escape routes
are kept clear of materials in case of an emergency that
necessitates speedy movement.
8. Provide Proper Supervision.
Every site must have a strong supervisor who’s willing
and capable of enforcing safety standards with no
exceptions. This person must keep tabs on all employees
throughout the day, correct those who fail to commit to
proper construction site safety procedures, and make the
necessary reports in the event of any problems.
5. Ensure Fall Protection Measures are in Place.
Employers are required to provide fall protection systems
to protect their workers on scaffolding or surfaces with
unprotected edges or sides that are six feet above a
lower level. Fall protection can include guardrails, safety
ENGINEERS & DEVELOPERS
Engineering Project of the Year 2020
Driven by the need to improve upon the built
environment in the most efficient and innovative
ways possible, the engineering world is constantly
producing seminal projects worthy of celebration. Every
year, the Jamaica Institution of Engineering (JIE) members
dust off their best black-tie ensemble to recognise
individuals and projects that highlight engineers and their
achievements throughout that year, and 2020 were no
different. Attracting a rich vein of entries that produced
outstanding systems and solutions, Builders got some
insight from the Project of the Year Committee Chair
on last year’s standout project and why it was chosen.
The JIE stands by the mandate of “engineering a
sustainable Jamaica.” As such, it came as no surprise that
the Port Royal Cruise Ship Development Project copped
the 2020 Project of the Year Award. “The committee looks
for projects that utilise innovative and unique techniques
that minimise damage while simultaneously enhancing the
environment,” says Project Committee Chairman, Colin
Porter. The Port Royal project actualised the best blend of
the two criteria and included several engineering solutions
geared toward the preservation of the sensitive Palisadoes
ecology as well as supporting social and economic
intervention initiatives. Consultants Westech Limited and
Omni Services Company and contractors SeaWalk, Orion
Marine Construction Limited, and ZDA Construction didn’t
miss a beat fulfilling the criteria set out by the JIE.
Photo: ZDA Construction
Photos: Port Authority of Jamaica
ENGINEERS & DEVELOPERS
The other nominees in the category also constructed
impactful works, but procuring such a vast network of local
partnerships and the high level of local design input was
what pushed the Port Royal Project over the edge. The
majority local engineering team carried out continuous
consultation with Port Royal residents and it was agreed
that the Port Royal Ferry Pier had become dilapidated,
unsafe, and in need of rehabilitation. The solution included
selecting a mooring site that would eliminate the need
for dredging and selecting a piece of technology that
mitigates the impact of a berthing infrastructure through
the use of a floating pier (SeaWalk) technology. From the
committee’s perspective, this technology was intended to
bring economic opportunities with the improved cruise ship
pier. “The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) always wanted
to bring back cruise shipping and decided Port Royal is
the best location based on the historical and heritage
importance of the area,” revealed Porter. Those factors also
attracted considerations that contributed to the stand-out
features of the project.
Considerations for the geotechnical, archaeological,
and environmental aspects of the area to determine
the sensitivity were also key to settling on this solution.
By route of the Scandinavian Peninsula, home to the
cruise and Viking ships of Norway, the breakthrough
technology was the perfect fit for the former ‘pirate city.’
SeaWalk complements without overwhelming the fragile
environment of historic Port Royal. As a first of its kind
in the Americas, the technology involves the use of a
250m long walkway and a 4.2m wide steel construction,
comprising three bridges. The bridges are 72m, 72m,
and 84m in length and sit on 10 floating pontoons
inclusive of two link pontoons to facilitate folding when
not in use, and a hinged landing section. The selfpropelled,
floating articulated pier mechanism facilitates
the berthing of cruise ships without the need to dredge
and the extensive infrastructural work typically required
to construct a conventional berthing system. As one
can imagine, a cruise ship is a huge vessel that needs a
deep berth to dock, and the new pier can accommodate
vessels up to a maximum of 350m in length.
The committee had not seen anything like it on this side
of the world and thought it novel and different, especially
that it unfolds to meet ships offshore and extends the
wharf out into the sea. It would be nearly impossible
to dock against the landmass without disrupting the
sensitive mangroves, protected sites, and underwater
artifacts. The Port Royal Cruise Ship Project avoided the
disruptive development route with this construction—a
major reason for their win. Another reason was the
heavy involvement of non-engineering professionals
in tutoring residents with the necessary skills to make
the best use of the technology. Through the Tourism
Product Development Company (TPDCo), Jamaica
Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Ministry of
Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and the Port
Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), several residents received
entrepreneurial training under the Team Jamaica
programme. The training supports the non-engineering
and post-project activities as they prepare for the
potential economic opportunities.
Normally, technologies of this magnitude would create an
eyesore, but the retractable design makes the SeaWalk
aesthetically pleasing. It also protects the technology
ENGINEERS & DEVELOPERS
Photos: ZDA Construction
Photo: Port Authority of Jamaica
from hurricane damage and remains out of the way of other
Founded in 1977, the JIE has hosted its Awards show for
more than half of its lifetime. The 40-year-old organisation
always looks forward to celebrating engineering excellence.
In addition to recognising engineering projects, the
organisation highlights top students from the various
universities and individual engineers.
START DATE: November 2017
END DATE: April 2020
CONTRACT SUM: $37,134,135.91
FINAL CONSTRUCTION COST: $37,134,135.91
CONTRACT PERIOD: 29 months
ENGINEERS & DEVELOPERS
HTG Engineering Consultants
Photos: HTG Engineering Consultants
ugh Gordon, managing director of HTG Engineering
Consultants Limited, managed to create a formidable,
technology-forward entity in one of the most technical
professions in the construction industry. His 11-year-old
engineering practice carved out its own lane by fulfilling
code-compliant mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and
fire (MEPF) services for its clients, with a stellar record
to match. The Kingston-based company develops
sustainable, energy-efficient designs—a distinct quality
in all their developments—by deploying the likes of
thermal imaging and ground penetrating radar detection
to execute sound structural and mechanical engineering
projects. Long before he got to where he is now, Gordon
knew he was destined to do well in the industry. “From
a tender age, I was a tinkerer. I mean, most kids are,
but my mind always wanted to solve problems as they
arose,” he said. “I took apart a remote control car my aunt
gifted me one Christmas and put it back together. She
was not amused at the time but look where it got me!”
Gordon eventually matriculated from tinkering to
University of Technology, Jamaica graduate, sharpening
his skills at several summer jobs before settling into a
10-year stint with LIMCO Engineering Company as a
mechanical engineering consultant. In January 2010, he
announced his intention to start his own business, and
fortunately, by that time, a few past clients were willing
to work with him based on their previous relationship.
After 11 years at the helm of HTG Engineering, Gordon
can attest that it was the right decision. He meticulously
steered the company into the vision of becoming a large
organization while being a flagbearer of what collaborative
development and technology-based or adaptable structural
systems and processes can look like. “It came from a desire
to build my own and to hone the skills I had learned,” he
says. With this foundation, the fully registered and PERBapproved
firm has engaged large entities like First Rock,
Sygnus Capital, Proven REIT Limited, and Mussons Jamaica,
producing efficient, innovative, and robust designs that
ensure the delivery of best-in-class MEPF service. The end
product is a roster of satisfied clients, many of whom remain
loyal because they value HTG’s input and work ethic.
Most Significant Projects to Date
One of the projects Gordon is most proud of is the Total
building (next to Chillitos), located near Liguanea in St.
Andrew. The standout features of that building were the
air conditioning, electrical, and fire elements. The 10,548
sq. ft. building is equipped with a robust electrical system,
integrated generator, and an air conditioning design that
utilizes VRF technology. These elements made the building
energy-efficient, as well as facilitate occupant comfort.
ENGINEERS & DEVELOPERS
Looking ahead, Gordon is excited about an upcoming project
that will reflect how construction can evolve with the times by
adapting the design to current standards and protocols while
anticipating future change. The property, located off Belmont
Road, will be unique because of the elements built-in with the
intention to combat the spread of COVID-19 or other airborne
diseases. The design focuses on an infrastructure that allows
unhindered movement of airflow and foot traffic. “We’re
talking air exchange throughout the building and provisions for
infrared thermal cameras that monitor foot traffic for heightened
temperature. In that case, the person will be isolated by
the security team or prevented from going further into the
building by automatically locking the doors,” he explained.
That element will also serve as an added boost to the overall
security system throughout the building. Another champion
amid these features will be the fire detection and suppression
system that will monitor carbon monoxide levels in the
underground parking lot, prevent smoke from entering the
stairwells in the event of a fire, and allow unfettered movement
around the building during an emergency. The advanced fire
suppression system, pressurized staircases, and four elevators
are additional features that make the design as functional
and adaptive as it is attractive. And speaking of attractive,
the facade will include panels, cladding, and lights—lots
of them. “When you see it in a year and a half, it will be
one of the most elegantly lit buildings around. It will look as
lovely at night as it does during the daytime,” he beamed.
Applying Advanced Techniques
Securing the opportunity to work on these big projects means
offering services that are often both efficient and cuttingedge.
“I would attribute a huge chunk of our success
to our willingness to incorporate technology that
works well with our clients’ vision. One of the newer
devices we’ve added to our operations is the ground
penetrating radar (GPR),” said Gordon. The device
records the reverberation from subsurface objects by
emitting a pulse into the ground. The main benefit of
the device is its ability to detect buried materials. That
gives a good indication of where not to drill or dig and
avoids damage to reinforcing bars, post-tension cables,
and embedded conduits buried deep underground.
“We often don’t know the geophysical makeup of a site
before construction, and this device will save a lot of time
and heartache. It’s like our own NCIS forensics tool that
solves construction mysteries,” he added. The company
is keen on utilizing the device more in the future because
of its mapping, detecting, and data recording/analysis
abilities—a value-added benefit to construction projects.
Approach to Business
Running a sought-after company is serious business that
needs the right approach in order to retain that status.
The transitional and macro-managing style feeds into
their operations and has worked best for them since the
beginning. “When I started out, about a year in, Kidroy
Smith, now a director of the company, came on board
to help steer the ship in a way that encourages our
team to feel empowered to make suggestions as well
as build their character,” explained Gordon. “I prefer
not to micro-manage people and am keen on passing
on the knowledge so they can thrive in their roles.
Gordon Hall, an owner at Arel Limited, taught me this.
It is admirable how he can balance running a company
while being down in the trenches with his team to help
resolve challenges. That was the ethos behind my hiring
a mechanical engineer to replace me instead of carrying
out both roles as well as delegating more and recognizing
how much growth it takes to employ more staff.”
HTG’s approach to business has also involved creating
an equitable work environment. In such a maledominated
industry, there was a conscious effort to
ensure, irrespective of gender, each potential employee
was reviewed without bias. “I want to have that variety in
thought processes based on the technical mind of each
team member, and different perspectives on a project
can make a good project great,” he said. “But no matter
what, I constantly stress the importance of transferring
knowledge and empowering the team around me. I am
always open to suggestions, and if they don’t work, we
fix them together.”
The Court Can Review
and Strike Down
By Jalil S. Dabdoub
Dabdoub, Dabdoub and Company
In planning for a property development, you would have
of course applied to the relevant authorities for the
various approvals and permits required to undertake
your development. Separate and apart from the possible
modification of restrictive covenants, approval from
the various local authorities is a critical “ingredient” of
the cocktail of items needed in your planning process.
However, having the necessary approvals in place is not
enough. Developers must be mindful of and adhere to the
applicable laws related to building and construction or run
the costly risk of having construction halted by the court.
When reviewing applications for approval of proposed
developments, the local authorities—the Kingston and
Saint Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSMAC) for these
two parishes and the local parish councils along with the
National Environment Planning Agency (NEPA) for other
parishes--are empowered under various acts. These acts
include the Town and Country Planning Act, The Building
Act, The Local Improvements Act, The Natural Resources
Conservation Act, the Land Development and Utilization
Act and the Restrictive Covenants (Discharge and
Modification) Act. Section 5(2) of the Town and Country
Planning Act defines a development as follows:
“the carrying out of building, engineering, mining
or other operations in, on, over or under land, or
the making of any material change in the use of
any buildings or other land…”
Section 5(2) makes clear that building and land
development activity falls for the consideration of the local
authority in its capacity as the Local Planning Authority.
In this regard, the local authorities must consider the
construction of buildings, their number, area, height, mass,
suitability to the locality or neighbourhood, design and
external appearance, and impact on neighbouring lands
It is important to note that the powers the local authorities
have are only derived pursuant to these acts. As a result,
the various acts not only empower the local authorities,
but also sets limits on those powers. The acts come
together to provide, amongst other things, safe buildings
and construction together with proper development, with
the objective of safety and usefulness for all users and the
society as a whole.
While all the various approvals are a necessary prerequisite
to commence your construction, let’s not be fooled. The
approvals, permits or licenses of the local authorities, as
the case may be, do not guarantee that your development
is in keeping with the law! The local authorities’ approval
is not a bulletproof vest against future challenges to any
Many developers are of the mistaken view that once these
approvals are in place, then it’s an automatic all-clear and no
further challenges or impediments are possible. However,
under our legal system, our Courts are empowered to
review the decisions of these local authorities in certain
Any person, group or body who has sufficient interest in the
subject matter may make an application to the Supreme
Court of Jamaica for Judicial Review. Through this process,
an interested person can challenge the decisions of the
local authorities, such as the granting of applications for
development and/or building approvals.
For example, in December 2020, in the matter of Young
and others vs KSAMC, NEPA and NRCA and Wamh
Developers Limited [2020) JMSC Civ 251 the Court
quashed the approvals and permits granted by the KSMAC
and NEPA, and ordered Wahm Developers to take steps to
halt all construction on the said premises.
At paragraph 111 of its judgment, the Court made clear
that it is incumbent on developers to comply with all
statutory requirements when conducting a development
and that even the local authorities are bound by and will be
held accountable for compliance with all the relevant laws.
“This court agrees that the general purpose of the
Town and Country Planning Authority is to ensure that
developments are undertaken in an orderly manner,
hence the requirement for Development/building permits.
Nevertheless, there are other material considerations that
are important if not more important. It is to be borne in
mind that as a part of its remit the NRCA must ensure that
Jamaica's natural resources and its physical environment
are conserved and protected. The ultimate consideration,
therefore, is protection of the environment as mandated in
section 9(5) of the NRCAA. Would be developers such as
WAMH must not, therefore, be allowed to ride roughshod
over the provisions of both statutes, neither should an
Authority seek to thwart the law in the name of "good
administration" or merely for the sake of expediency.
The court went on to say at Paragraph 245 that:
“In these circumstances, I find that the planning
authority in this case, the KSAMC, was in breach of
its statutory duties and that they failed to follow the
procedural rules provided in the Town and Country
planning Act. I also find that it had no jurisdiction
to grant an application where there were several
breaches of the 2017 Provisional Development
Order. National Environment Planning Agency,
who is the agent of the other relevant authority
National had no power to grant an environmental
permit retrospectively and I have found that the
environmental permit granted to WAMH in this case
is null and void. Consequently the construction at
17 Birdsucker Drive is not supported by any legal
This recent judgement makes clear that, despite the fact
that developers may hold all the necessary approvals and
permits required by law, approvals are not a guarantee
that the development is in keeping with the relevant laws.
A court can stop a development, resulting in considerable
loss to the developer.
It is imperative, therefore, that persons seeking to engage
in property development contract the services of the
various professionals engaged in property development.
This includes architects, engineers, Attorneys-at-Law and
land Surveyors. These professionals would be familiar with
the necessary laws to be complied with in a development.
The engagement of such professionals will minimize the
risks of a development being halted by the court despite
the fact that the relevant approvals and permits are in
Tel: (876) 926-3155
Dabdoub, Dabdoub and Company
Doors & Windows 52
Ceilings & Partitions 64
Safety & Security 76
DOORS & WINDOWS
Choosing the Right
Windows for a
Selecting the right windows is like choosing the perfect pair
of shoes to complete an outfit: they are stylish, accentuate
the fit, and pull everything together. Similarly, the right,
well-placed window adds architectural interest and value to a
space. Installing multiple windows transforms your fortress into a
beautifully framed home and could be your best investment yet.
But for starters, figure out the function, style, colour, material,
and size of window that’ll work best for the area it’s being put in.
not-so-sunny days, parts of the home may require
windows that can withstand heavy rains and high
What’s your style? From casement windows to
the hung series windows, local retailers can help
you select the right style based on your needs.
You may want to invite the outside into a living or
dining room, and bay windows with their curved
design provide a broader view of the outside. Add
elegant black frames for a pop of personality.
Renovating with Window Styles
Now that you’re renovating (or planning to), here are some
window styles to consider for your home.
Function. We often reference the importance of location for the
property itself, but window location is critical to its function. For
instance, working from a home office may require peace and
quiet. The windows for your office would need to have noise
prevention glazing to control sound pollution. Large windows in
east-facing rooms greet the majestic glow of the morning sun
and make them brighter and most likely energy efficient. On
DOORS & WINDOWS
Also known as awning windows, the casement style
accentuates a clean, modern kitchen area. The top-tobottom
design makes them open like a door allowing
maximum air circulation and unobstructed views. Opening
along its entire length, you’ll have no issues with fresh
air or ventilating hard-to-reach places like over a kitchen
sink. Matching these windows with other accessories,
like cabinet handles, creates a stand-out scene that adds
appeal to your newly renovated kitchen.
Hung Series Windows
The classic lines and two sashes that open vertically
are what characterise the hung windows. A made-over
bathroom would benefit from this style that can remain
open, allowing air and light, even during rainfall, without
letting water in. That beautiful little DIY reading nook is
also a good setup for hung windows as you nestle in with a
side of afternoon tea to enjoy an engaging book.
The quintessential French window is no stranger to new
or renovated interior décor. This elegantly styled window
is definitely the throw open type that adds drama to a
balcony, terrace, or garden. Giving the illusion of a bigger
space, French windows provide a charming architectural
detail to complete either an old world or modern
minimalist aesthetic. The one-sided hinged system set in
wooden frames will always be visually attractive due to its
sophisticated, unique style.
Sliding windows really open up a room. These windows
are well-matched for renovating ideas as they are a
popular choice for contemporary styled homes, especially
for tight spaces and rooms in need of extra ventilation.
The sleek, contemporary sliding window glides open
smoothly, welcoming a cool coastal breeze or the imagery
of rolling ocean waves without hesitation. If you have a
scenic landscape, why not make the most of it? Go big
for effect or get creative with decorative grilles and dark
trims. A freshly renovated home with sliding windows
commands attention and further captures the best light
and optimal views.
There’s no doubt that the right windows make a world of
difference when renovating. Striking a balance between
the aesthetics and functionality of your window choice
will have your home looking and feeling brand new. Many
local retailers supply the windows mentioned above, so
What's your countertop style?
Whether your kitchen style is traditional, modern,
vintage, industrial, or farmhouse, one thing is certain:
you’ll need to have countertops. The material you
choose is not only about aesthetics but functionality and
durability. You don’t want something that looks good
but can’t stand up to the wear and tear of hot pots and
pans, cutting and chopping, spills, and innumerable wipedowns
with wet cloths. Cost is also another factor, as some
options are much more expensive than others. Luckily,
there are numerous options to choose from, so there’s
something you’ll like, whatever your taste or budget. Let’s
take a look at some of the most popular ones today.
This natural stone has been top of the heap in countertop
choices for years, and for good reason: it’s a strong,
durable prep surface and offers a desirable high-end look.
As a natural material, granite typically features variations
in the stone’s pattern. This adds to its appeal for many
customers but it also makes it tricky to match up the
slabs. Another downside is that granite is porous, which
means liquids can seep through the surface and cause
staining or become a breeding ground for dangerous
bacteria. To help your granite countertops maintain their
appeal and cleanliness, wipe up all spills quickly, and seal
with a nonporous sealant—typically once a year.
This stone is another favourite among consumers and
comes in both natural and engineered form. Natural
quartz, while beautiful, is not as strong as granite,
so most of the quartz countertops you’ll encounter
are of the engineered variety—a mix of the original
stone and various additives. Engineered quartz has
one major upside to granite: it’s nonporous, meaning
it won’t be stained from liquids and doesn’t need to
be sealed. It’s also impervious to acids and scratches
and stands up very well to heat. Like granite, there
are numerous colours and patterns to choose from.
Marble is the high-end countertop material du jour in
the design world. Many designers and customers are
enamoured with the gray-toned veining in the most
popular types, Carrara and Calacatta, which isn’t only
aesthetically appealing, it also helps to disguise wear and
hide light stains. Its timeless appeal also gives any kitchen
a high-end look. Similar to granite, marble is porous and
requires regular sealing as well as special care with heat and
anything acidic to prevent etching.
Highly stain- and bacteria-resistant, soapstone is another
great option if natural stone is your preference. It doesn’t
have the same variety of colours as the others (it’s only
available in grays from light to dark), but like marble, it
features veining in shades of black, white, and green. It’s
also nonporous and doesn’t require yearly sealing, but
regular applications of mineral oil will help to add sheen,
disguise nicks and scratches, and deepen the stone’s colour
Honed vs. Leathered vs. Polished Finishes
Granite, quartz, marble, and soapstone all lend themselves
well to various types of treatment finishes. Polished is the
most popular finish, but honed and leathered textures are
rising in favour. Honed offers a matte finish with little to no
shine. The overall look will vary depending on the type of
stone, but it works especially well with marble, since it’s lack
of shine helps conceal any flaws or scratches.
The leathered finish is a newer style of treatment that has
become more popular in recent years. It has a soft sheen
instead of the high gloss of a polished finish and has a
different feel. The leathered finish retains the stone’s natural
colour, giving it a more sophisticated look than honed. It
also hides fingerprints and water spots very well, which is a
Tile countertops are a great choice if you want an
inexpensive material that’s easy to maintain. It’s simple to
coordinate or mix and match with different design styles.
You can use the same ceramic and porcelain tiles from your
construction or opt for tiles made from or mimicking any
of the natural stones you prefer. Best of all, installation is a
DIY project you can tackle in one weekend, if you’re feeling
If you’re on a budget, laminate is the best option. It also
helps that the material is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
If you’re thinking of the Formica in your grandparents’
kitchen, you’re on the right track. However, today’s
laminates feature myriad patterns that resemble natural
stone or wood, allowing you to have a high-end look at a
fraction of the cost of those materials. And if you do like
that colourful, retro look, those styles are also available.
The butcher-block style is another popular option,
especially for customers who want a warm, ‘homey’ look.
Both decorative and functional, this surface is ideal for food
prep once it’s properly sealed. It’s even sanitary for
chopping meat. Wood is also highly heat-resistant,
so you can’t damage it with hot pots and pans.
Stainless steel is the way to go if you love a modern,
industrial look. The metal surface coordinates with
any colour and is one of the easiest countertop
materials to clean—just wipe it down with a wet
cloth and soap. Stainless steel also inhibits bacterial
buildup, making it the most hygienic option available.
Concrete is a trendy option, especially among
the younger crowd. It’s tough and durable and
complements the modern aesthetic very well.
Countertops can be customized with pigments or
embedded objects, but like natural stone options,
it’s porous and will need to be sealed regularly to
protect against staining and bacterial buildup.
KOHLER by Tile City & Home Centre
World Water Day was recently observed on March 22, and
with every passing year, our global water consciousness and
conscientiousness only continues to grow. When it comes to
water conservation, we take our role very seriously and have chosen to
work with a range of partners to make our products more sustainable
and environmentally friendly. And when it comes to each individual’s
personal footprint, the bathroom and kitchen are typically the biggest
consumers of water and energy for the majority of households.
Our contributions, no matter how small, have an impact. If we simply
remember to turn off the water when we brush our teeth, we are
helping. If we plant native, drought-resistant gardens, we are making
a difference. And if we trade in inefficient bathroom products—toilets
using 1.6 or more gallons of water and showerheads using 2.5 gallons
per minute, we’re really having an impact. It truly is up to us to make
And thanks to human ingenuity—that beautiful thing—comfort and
conserving water are not mutually exclusive. Design continues to move
forward in smart, efficient ways, so we don’t have to choose between
stunning style, great performance and doing our part.
Here’s how you can make small changes in your bathroom to save
water and make a design splash.
Trade Your Toilet for a Newer Model
Believe it or not, toilets are the biggest offenders in the
home when it comes to wasting water. Chances are, if you
haven’t upgraded your toilet in the past 10 years, it’s less
efficient than it should be. To give you a sense of the current
state of affairs: in California alone, the state with the most
advanced guidelines, only 5.5 percent of toilets are highefficiency
using 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) or less. So, if
you’re unsure whether or not your toilet wastes water, it
probably does. It makes sense then to swap your toilet for
a high-efficiency toilet that can save up to 16,500 gallons
of water each year, reducing water use by up to 20 percent
over a 1.6-gallon toilet.
Here are some things to note if you're considering a trade:
• Look to swap older 1.6- to 3.5-gpf toilets for water-saving
toilets with a 1.28-gpf or less.
• Choose between a single-flush toilet (what most of us
have) and a dual-flush toilet that lets you choose between a
half or full flush.
• Don’t limit yourself to white—choose from water-saving
toilets in a wide variety of colours.
• Coordinate the design of your toilet with the look of your
room, from classic to contemporary lines and details.
Swap Your Showerhead and Save
At first glance, tinkering with a shower you’re happy with
seems kind of crazy. Unless…the new shower will be even
better, for you and the world. Showering technology has
evolved over the past few years to make it possible to
combine an incredible spray experience, even music,
with saving water. In fact, today, whether you opt for a
single-function showerhead with great rinsing power or
a multifunction showerhead that adds massaging and
restoring sprays, you can go from a 2.5 gallon-per-minute
(gpm) showerhead to a 2.0-gpm or less and save up to 40
percent more water.
Some extra reasons to make the change:
• Swapping your showerhead or handshower out couldn’t
be easier: unscrew the old model and screw on the new.
• Explore rockin’ upgrades, like a water-saving showerhead
that features a wireless speaker. Take it to the next level with
a digital system that allows you to pre-set the duration of
your shower to save water.
Dump Your Leaky Faucet
Certainly, it makes sense to change out your faucet
when it’s leaking, but upgrading to a new faucet can
save a significant amount of water each year, up to 30
percent over a 2.2-gpm faucet. Plus, choosing a new
style or finish can give your bathroom a new look.
Why it makes sense to switch:
• Say goodbye to your leaky faucet or your standard 2.2-
gpm faucet and install a 1.5-gpm.
• If your faucet is leaking around 60 drops per minute, it’s
wasting up to 2,304 gallons per year.
• Match your faucet design with your bathroom style, from
traditional to modern, or choose a contrasting faucet design
to make a statement.
• Think about how the finish you select—like rose gold or
matte black—can warm up or cool down the look of the
At Kohler, we believe great design is form and function
in perfect harmony with the environment. This means
designing products that don't just look beautiful and
perform exceptionally well, but also use significantly less
water. Because lowering your water usage shouldn't mean
lowering your standards. Visit our showroom today at 114
Constant Spring Road, Kingston to explore more watersaving
A NEW CARPENTRY
QUALITY AND EXCELLENT DESIGNS ARE OUR LEGACY
683 Half Moon Street, Montego Bay
Transforming Your Bathroom
Experience with Technology
One of the last places you would expect to find Alexa is in
the bathroom, but here we are in the midst of the digital
era and the most sacred place in the home is becoming
smarter. With voice-activated showerheads that pre-prepare
showers on command, there are not many things better
than a customised, aromatherapy type shower experience.
U by Moen Smart Shower provides the best of both
customisation and intelligence. The smart shower luxuriously
rinses away those exhausting workdays, especially those
endless Zoom calls and meetings. The shower experience is
Wi-Fi/cloud-based and a “thoughtful, beautifully designed
product creating exceptional experiences with water,” said
Delphine Francois Chiavarini, vice president of global brand
marketing for Moen. Ultimately, every bathroom can be
transformed with this exquisite shower design.
How U by Moen Smart Shower Works
Showers are usually the final frontier when it comes to
incorporating technology. It may be because showering
isn’t the most arduous of tasks and it’s assumed that most
people at least like to do it anyway. While that is true,
technology has caught up and the U by Moen Smart
Shower is more than buttons and digital timers. This smart
shower operates like a personalized eco-system throughout
the home so you could be checking the latest news while
your smartphone finds the desired water temperature.
Your shower will be the perfect temperature faster than the
twist of a knob. Speaking of knobs, there are none. The
U by Moen comes with a sleek digital LCD touchscreen
that controls water temperature and feels futuristic and
luxurious. In addition to being showered in luxury, the
thermostatic control has built-in limits so you always get
the desired temperature as well as prevent any possible
scalding accidents. The smart water technology can also
be controlled through voice activation and an in-shower
controller. With voice assistance, you can remotely start and
stop the shower, create personalized pre-set settings, and
activate those preferred settings using voice command. This
feature is not only cool but efficient and the U by Moen
offers three ways to shower in style using voice assistants.
“Hey Siri, start my post-workout shower” is a command you
probably never knew you needed, but thanks to Apple, you
do. This voice assistant starts the shower from anywhere in
the home from Apple devices including your iPhone, iPad,
Watch, Mac and HomePod. But if you’re not one of the
legion of Apple devotees, then Google Assistant or Amazon
Alexa will also get you that feel-good experience. They even
stepped it up with an integrated network of smart home
interactions. Imagine being able to start the shower at the right
temperature, adjust the lights in your bedroom, and open
the blinds at the same time all from a pre-set voice command.
And since we’re leaning on our homes for comfort more than
ever, adding a few orchids, peace lilies, and ferns multiplies
the aromatherapy aesthetic of the U by Moen smart shower
ceilings & partitions
Keeping It Cool with Ceiling Fans
Beyond helping to regulate cooling needs throughout
the house, there are many benefits to having ceiling
fans in your home. With warm weather all year round,
ceiling fans are relatively low energy users and inject
comfort and versatility into your space.
Bonus: They make a great decorative lighting alternative
that delivers functionality and completes the aesthetics of
Being in a room that feels suffocating is grossly
uncomfortable. By circulating the air, ceiling fans regulate
the temperature and cools the skin. Adversely, if it’s too
cold, changing the blade direction clockwise creates an
updraft and redistributes the heat in the room.
Design tip: Maximise comfort by selecting ceiling fans with
wide blades that can easily change direction and move a lot
of air around.
Saves on Energy Usage
We live in a predominately warm country, so the good
news is that ceiling fans work all year round. Even better,
they consume way less energy than air conditioning. Unlike
air conditioning, which uses a great deal of energy to cool
the entire room, ceiling fans spinning in a counterclockwise
direction pushes air down and creates a wind-chill effect
that cools your skin. Not cooling the entire room can help
save up to 40 percent in energy usage. Nowadays, smart
fans are incorporating modern technology like Google
Assistant, Alexa, and LED lights to operate more efficiently.
Design tip: Source Energy Star-rated fans. They are up to
60 percent more efficient than conventional fan and light
Ceiling fans can also add pizzazz to a room by serving as
statement pieces or the focal point in a room. In addition
to their functionality, they are now available in a variety of
interesting, sculptural models as well as sizes, styles, and
finishes to complement any interior style. Combining a
ceilings & partitions
Photos: Big Ass Fans
few in an open-concept area or on vaulted ceilings pulls
the eyes up and creates a welcoming and contemporary
Design tip: Interchangeable blade sets gives the option
to easily revamp the design to fit any preference without
replacing the entire unit.
Many designers suggest having ceiling fans in every living
area of the home. In large primary bathrooms, compact
ceiling fans whisk away humidity while a smaller ceiling
fan in wood finish would be perfect for a child’s bedroom,
and an industrial-inspired fan works well in home gyms to
stay cool. Outdoor areas can benefit too and as visitors
approach your door an installation on the verandah can be
a conversation piece.
Provides Beautiful and Functional Lighting
Choosing ceiling fans with integrated lighting contribute
to the layered lighting design that gives a room character.
Fans with light kit compatibility or built-in lights provide that
layered effect and steps beyond basic overhead lighting.
The ambient lighting dresses up any room and creates a
cohesive and functional lightscape.
Design tip: Choose a light kit that coordinates with the
fixtures and appliances in the home.
Design tip: Consider ceiling height before installing fans in
different areas of the home.
Choosing The Best Lighting for
Industrial and Commercial Spaces
Among the many different elements that go into the
planning and design of a commercial or industrial space,
lighting tends to be the one most overlooked. Many
people associate commercial lighting with installing the
brightest, most glaring lights possible, but that can actually
be counterproductive and harmful for the people using the
space. That’s where even a basic understanding of lighting
ergonomics comes into play. This focuses on the relationship
between the light source and the people in the space and
aims to design and arrange light sources so that people can
work and interact in the safest and most efficient manner.
As human beings, our need for light is biological. The right
quantities of both natural and artificial light can positively
impact both our physical and mental health. The type and
amount of light that people are exposed to impacts their
moods, circadian rhythms, productivity, and creativity.
With millions of people spending at least a third of their
waking hours in commercial spaces for work, and millions
more traversing these spaces for other reasons, it’s vital
to plan and design with the appropriate lighting in mind.
Lighting and Productivity
The right lighting helps enable people to function optimally
and better focus on the task at hand. According to the
International Labour Organization (ILO), proper lighting
ergonomics can increase productivity by up to 10 percent.
Optimal performance is what you want from the people who
will utilise your commercial space, whether it’s an office suite,
a factory, or a medical facility. The ILO report also showed
that good lighting reduces errors by approximately 30
percent. Proper visibility is important overall, but especially
for industrial spaces like factories where machinery is being
operated and workplace accidents can be life-threatening.
The Right Temperature
When designing the lighting for your commercial
space, it’s important to strike a balance and not just
go for the brightest lights you can find. While lighting
that’s too dim can cause eye strain and make you feel
drowsy and tired, lighting that’s too bright can be
harsh on your eyes and trigger migraine symptoms.
Another important factor to consider is the colour
temperature of the light source. Mid-range and high
colour temperature lights tend to appear cool white or
blue-white and are sometimes called ‘daylight colours.’
These cooler lights have been shown to increase
alertness and reduce fatigue, so they’re the ones you
want in your production areas where people are actively
working or brainstorming, and in conference rooms.
Warmer lights, which create a sense of comfort and
relaxation, can be used in break rooms and cafeterias.
Exposure to natural light is also beneficial to workers,
whether morning or evening. A 2018 study by the
Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at
Cornell University found that employees who were
exposed to natural light in the workplace reported an 84
percent drop in eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision.
Research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
also showed that exposure to natural light helps regulate
hormones and keeps your circadian rhythm properly
regulated. This means your team is likely to sleep better at
night and be able to work more productively the next day.
Lack of natural light throws off the body’s natural rhythms,
which leads to tiredness and listlessness. Since most
commercial spaces don’t have complete access to natural
light, it’s best to have a mix of appropriate artificial lighting and
natural light. Ways to bring in natural light include numerous
windows—preferably large ones—and skylights. Another
option is to use glass in lieu of drywall where possible, to
allow any natural light coming into the space to be diffused.
Also, if you have the means and if it would be appropriate for
the kind of work being done in your commercial space, you
can also consider programmable lights that can mimic the
typical changes of natural light over the course of the day.
These will move from cooler and brighter in the mornings
and early afternoons to slightly warmer tones in the evenings.
Getting it Right
potential than lighting for some other settings like homes.
Considering cost and the other factors already covered,
it’s definitely a plus to talk with an experienced lighting
professional to determine the right fit for your needs.
Some of these considerations could include the following:
Fluorescent vs. LED — Fluorescent technology is
more commonplace as it’s been around for more than
100 years. It's generally viewed as a high-efficiency
way to provide lighting over a vast area, in comparison
to incandescent bulbs. In recent years, LED (lightemitting
diode) technology has proven to be a better,
more energy-efficient alternative to fluorescent lights.
While LED lights may be a bit more expensive, when used
in an office, they’ve proven to save a company money in
the long term. This is because LED lights typically have a
longer lifespan—up to 50,000 life hours before needing
replacement, compared to a maximum 36,000 hours for
fluorescent bulbs. They also don’t use excess energy in
the form of infrared radiation the way fluorescent lights do.
Styles — There are many different styles of lighting out there
and the ones you choose can help to elevate the overall
aesthetic of your space. For instance, if your commercial
space is a factory or warehouse with high ceilings, high
bay lights may be best whereas panel lights and troffers
are great for office spaces and medical facilities. Of course,
you can also include pendant lights or chandeliers in spaces
such as the lobby, which also requires good visibility but can
also use something aesthetically appealing.
Commercial lighting tends to be expensive initially, when
you factor in the cost of the light fixtures themselves and the
number of them that may be needed to properly illuminate
the space. However, these lights are designed to be longer
lasting, are more durable, and have better energy saving
there was a time not too long ago (give or take about 20
years) when the idea of a smart home was purely in the
realm of science fiction, or just nebulous thoughts in the
brains of true tech ‘geeks.’ The world wide web wasn’t as
‘worldwide’ as it is today, of course, so the Internet of Things
(IoT) phenomenon was truly a thing of the future. Sci-fi also
tended to paint bleak pictures of automated houses that
eventually took on minds of their own and caused chaos, so
average Joes and Janes were probably a little leery of living
in a home ‘controlled’ by technology. However, as software
and devices evolved, so grew people’s acceptance of and
interest in the idea, leading to the explosion of smart home
technology we’ve seen over the past decade—especially
the last five years. We haven’t quite reached the stage of
widely available full-scale home automation but we’re well
on our way. Thanks to Wi-Fi and an ever-growing number of
smart home apps and devices, we can now control various
aspects of our homes with a voice command or the swipe
of a finger across our smartphone or tablet screens. Let’s
explore some of the ways smart home technology can make
your life at home easier and better.
In the same way a good executive assistant keeps a busy
CEO’s workday running smoothly, a smart assistant can help
ease your day from start to finish—after all, you’re the CEO
of your home. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google
outdoor security cameras from a computer screen to
being able to set and disable home alarm systems from
a smartphone app remotely. There are many brands on
the market that feature a range of products that include
motion-detecting lights and security cameras, video
doorbells, and smart locks that can be activated and
monitored remotely using their hubs or apps on your
phone. Some also have sensors that help protect homes
from environmental threats like fires and floods. Popular
brands include Ring, SimpliSafe, Wyze, and Abode.
Assistant are the most widely known brands, and their
associated hubs, devices, and systems—HomeKit, Echo, and
Nest, respectively—can be configured to monitor and control
just about every aspect of your home. For many consumers,
setting up these systems is often the first step in their smart
home journey. After getting set up, all you have to do is give
the appropriate voice commands and you’re good to go.
This is perhaps the most widely used smart home technology
around the world, but it has evolved from simply monitoring
Gone are the days of flipping a switch to turn lights off
or on, or turning a dial to control brightness. Now you
can use smart bulbs, such as the Philips Hue, Yeelight, or
Wyze Bulb, that you can control from your smartphone.
Another option is the use of smart switches to control
the lights already built into your house. Some home
technology systems like Google Assistant even allow you
to control your lights via voice command. Real estate
Photo: Nest Learning Thermostat
developers can kick-start a buyer’s smart home journey
by installing smart switches from the construction stage.
Smart thermostats like Nest, Ecobee, and Sensi allow you
to adjust the temperature of your home from your phone or
via voice command. Now you can turn on your A/C before
you get home so it’s nice and cool when you arrive.
Smart home entertainment systems give you complete
control of all of your media and devices through voice,
app, and remote control wherever you are in your home.
Now you can tell your smart home assistant to turn on
your TV or start your favourite music playlist. Connect your
smart speakers for a redefined sound experience. Dim the
lights to recreate the atmosphere of a night at the movies.
Systems like Amazon Echo and Google Nest are at your
beck and call.
Chores and more
Not in the mood to pull out the vacuum cleaner? iRobot
has you covered with Roomba (sweeping) and Braava
(sweeping and mopping). Another option that does both is
the Deebot Ozmo. Close or open smart window shades with
the touch of a button. You can also whip up an Instagramworthy
meal with smart kitchen appliances—even while
you’re away. Smart plugs and outlets help you monitor and
control energy usage via voice command. Outdoors, you
can keep your lawn in tip-top shape with a smart sprinkler
and a cordless robotic lawnmower.
Pros and Cons
Home automation has gone from a far-fetched, distantfuture
idea to a living reality for many people, whether it’s
a simple security camera setup or a house chock-full of
programmed gadgets and devices. There are many benefits,
including more comfort and convenience, improved safety,
and better energy efficiency. Another benefit homeowners
will love is the increased value of your property. In the
U.S., according to American Family Insurance, a home
integrated with smart features greatly appeals to potential
buyers, which can lead to higher resale value. Real estate
developers can also increase the appeal of their properties
by integrating smart home features during the building
On the flip side, it can become an expensive undertaking,
depending on how deep you want to go with the
automation. There are so-called bargain options, but the
more comprehensive systems run into the hundreds of U.S.
dollars. You also have to consider the fact that technology
evolves pretty swiftly, which means the version you purchase
this year may go out of style by this time next year. Be sure
to carefully weigh the pros and cons before making the
The Truth About Installing Ceramic
and Porcelain Tiles
Builders Jamaica sat down with Home & Things Jamaica
Limited to go through a tested and proven guide on
how to properly install porcelain and ceramic tiles to last
a long time. As one of the largest distributors of porcelain
and ceramic tiles in the country, Home & Things provides
manufacturer-specific guides for the brands they carry
and decided to share some of these tips with us. With this
expert advice, developers can benefit from reinforcing and
improving their knowledge on the stages of the process
that are, at times, overlooked or neglected.
Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tiles
At first glance, it’s tough for a layman to tell the difference
between porcelain and ceramic tiles. The truth is, porcelain
and ceramic tiles have quite a few similarities, so to
the untrained eye, they can look the same. The major
differences lie in the material composition, manufacturing
process, and durability.
These are made from clay with a mixture of metal oxides
for colour and ground glass for a hard surface. Although
glazing makes them versatile in terms of colour and
design options, they are generally not as hard-wearing as
porcelain. That makes them more suitable for residential
developments and interior domestic spaces as opposed to
high traffic areas that require harder surfaces.
The clay used to make porcelain tiles has a much denser
composition than the one used for ceramic tiles. This means
they absorb less water and are less susceptible to wear and
tear. Porcelain tends to outperform ceramic in high traffic
areas in both long-term appearance and durability.
The installation process for both types of tile, though not
difficult, is very technical. Yet, neither the chromatic range
of a ceramic floor or the contemporary richness of freshly
laid porcelain has had too many opportunities to shine
uninterrupted. Major missteps from not knowing how the
chemicals being used interact to underestimating the inconvenience
of high water tables and consistent rainfall reveal
an area of ignorance for some developers and contractors.
By paying attention to the manufacturer’s guides and specifications,
botched tiling work can be a thing of the past.
The following is not the standard chronological list of steps
in the installation process. Rather, think of it as a peek into
an experienced analysis from the professional journal of an
industry elite that lists key elements of the proper installation
flow and why they are crucial.
A Guide to Installing Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles
It’s mandatory to read the manufacturer’s guide and
installation specifications. Before any work starts, the guide
should be consulted and the necessary materials prepared.
The most basic thing the guide will advise is the type of
thin set mortar and grout joint space required and the area
of usage for the tile. Large retailers like Home & Things
can help with the correct thin set to tile pairing—polymer
or latex modified thin set pairs better with porcelain. It is
essential to know the grout joint size from early. Tiles are
made to have varying degrees of distance between them
and the manufacturer’s guide will provide details on which
grout joint size to use.
It’s still the preliminary stage and the next recommended
step is mixing tiles from different boxes. Again, this is based
on the manufacturer’s advice. Developers or contractors
will not want to be using too many variations in tone and
calibre in the same area. That is because there will be some
variation, no matter how minute, in the tone, shade, and
calibration of the tiles being laid and organizing them
in groups encourages an organized, seamless process.
Sometimes the difference is easily identifiable, other times,
not as much. But once the tone and calibre are consistent
and the grout joint size and type of thin set is known,
installation can begin.
We now get into the physical aspects of installation. First,
double check to ensure the subfloor is level and structurally
sound. The quality of the installation will depend on this.
Common knowledge? Maybe. However, it is revealed that
nine out of 10 times that is not the case. The general rule is
if the level of the floor requires the use of more than a half
or quarter inch of thin set, there’s a problem. At that point,
excess thin set shrinkage could leave a hollow spot at the
back of the tiles causing them to break or pop up easily.
If there is a need to level the subfloor, it’s best to do so
with a proper mix of concrete and sand. Next, wait at least
one to two weeks until the concrete adequately dries out
before actually laying tiles. Any less and you run the risk of
having hollow spots and popping up of tiles. As an extra
precaution, experienced contractors will want to check
the water tables and rainfall levels in the area. More water
means a longer drying period. Essentially, the success of
this step is heavily predicated on levelling and drying out
the raw concrete floor before laying the tiles.
The previous steps cover about 70 percent of the process.
Once the levelled floor can only accommodate a quarter
inch of thin set, then you are ready to go. In the process of
installing, never buck the tile up against the wall. Tile the
area to the walls up to the size of the grout joint, leaving
a broken space. That allows for any minor tile movements
or expansion and reduces the possibility of cracking or
Use the manufacturer’s recommended joint size spacer and
avoid laying tiles based on personal style. The tiles may
not be designed for that particular look based on their
bendability/warpage, so be guided.
Now that the tiles are installed, don’t rush to grout
immediately. A three- to five-day wait is recommended, but
rainy conditions may extend the wait time. This time allows
for the evaporation of as much moisture from the thin set
as possible. If not, trapped moisture in the grout space may
lead, depending on the tile, to damaged or discoloured
Developers and contractors who incorporate this flow
into their installation process will have smoother and less
safety & security
The practice of tapping a card reader or using
some kind of access control to get through the
front door of corporate, multi-use, and apartment
buildings is becoming a frequent occurrence as the
desire for bulletproof security increases. Builders
Jamaica sought to find out more about these systems
and the pros and cons of using this technology.
What is an Access Control System?
In its simplest form, access control systems are automated
entry systems that ensure only authorized persons can
enter a building. Being granted access is predicated
on who is authorized, or not, and an additional layer
of security is built in to protect the lives and assets
of those who are authorized. They make traditional
keys feel archaic and frankly, cumbersome. Though
developers have been opting for keyless features for
some time, other touchless access options using mobile
devices and other biometric systems are available.
Emerging Access Control Systems
Smartphone access control
Typically paired with cloud-based systems, entering
a building would require the use of an app from your
smartphone to confirm that you’re not an intruder. We
know developers are always considering their bottom
line and smartphone access is a cost-effective solution
for efficiently managing identification credentials that,
in times of security concerns, increases value without
throwing off project budgets.
They often utilise bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology
to secure bluetooth connection from a few feet away.
This ease and convenience make mobile access control
an undeniably promising alternative to older technology
like keycards and miles ahead of physical keys.
Recorded Entry History. You hear it all the time: having a
record of things may save you in the long run. Well, it’s the
same with access control. It records each entry, which means
you can always search for proof of infringement if needed.
When it comes to safety and livelihood, that’s a big plus.
Contact Tracing. Our new norm demands contact tracing
as a responsible course of action for any multi-use building.
By recording each entry, building owners and managers can
trace breakout origins with ease. As a preventative feature,
utilising touchless systems significantly reduces the chance
of contamination from handling keys and knobs.
Biometric Access Control
With all types of biometric applications available,
developers will have no problem finding something that
suits their design, budget, and clientele. This system uses
face, eye, fingerprint, and even voice to identify who is
requesting entry and is said to be incredibly accurate.
While other systems have to consider the possibility of
stolen data or tokens, biometric access is done with a
unique code—making it 10 times harder to compromise.
This futuristic-sounding option adds a modern interest
and high-scale feel to developments.
Advantages of Access Control Systems
Extra safety. They eliminate the common anxiety of being
harmed while entering your building. There is a sense of
peace and security knowing only those who belong in the
building will be granted access.
No Lost/Copying Keys. Lost or unauthorized copies of
your key floating somewhere out there is stressful. Using
a biometric reader or smartphone instead means no keys
to lose. If compromised, it can easily be cancelled and
reissued without the hassle of changing locks.
Disadvantages of Access Control Systems
Hacking. Yes, these systems can be hacked. When it is,
personal information can be manipulated without being
caught. Despite increasing security, there is still a chance
that they can be tampered with.
Pricey. Biometric access control can be particularly costly
with all the advanced touchless technology being used.
The Occasional Alien. Occasionally, there will be
instances where a fingerprint biometric system won’t work
for certain individuals. If they handle chemicals or do heavy
construction work for instance, their fingerprint might
degrade making it difficult to identify. Here, a contactless
reader such as facial recognition would be a better
Developers incorporating these systems into their projects
should consider scalability, user friendliness, customer
support access, and how well they integrate with other
systems in the building. Either way, it more than likely will
come down to the desired level of security and how much
you want to pay.
691 Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11,
Jamaica, W.I. | 876-765-3663 / 3120
Cement & Concrete 80
cement & concrete
Allcrete Brings Construction
Solutions to Jamaican Builders
Allcrete Surfacing Limited, a name synonymous with
durable and show-stopping floors in Jamaica, was
born (like all great things) out of necessity. The
principals of Allcrete’s parent company, high-end real
estate developer Matalon Homes, repeatedly found
themselves facing the same problem on each construction
site: they wanted better quality finishing materials but
couldn’t source them locally. With no alternative, Matalon
Homes decided to solve the problem themselves.
In 2011, Allcrete began providing stamped, metallic,
and stained concrete floors and surfaces across Jamaica.
Everyone, from owners of chic boutique hotels and large
all-inclusive resorts to industrial car showrooms, was thrilled
they could get quality stamped concrete locally. Allcrete
provided decorative concrete surfaces for Matalon Homes’
projects as well as for independent contractors. They were
pleased to discover the demand for quality decorative
concrete products was through the roof in Jamaica.
“Stamped concrete surfaces can last a lifetime if installed
correctly,” explains Andrew Matalon, CEO of Allcrete
Surfacing Limited. “Commercial properties, especially places
like hotels, were very interested in our stamped concrete
surfaces. We use Increte Systems, the industry-recognized
best single-source solution for decorative stamped concrete.
Our team was well-trained and efficient. Clients were
pleased with our work, so one job always led to another.”
The further Allcrete got into the world of construction
products, the more they realized there was room for
expansion. They discovered the construction industry
in Jamaica was in dire need of a reliable provider of
construction and masonry products. Hungry to expand
their product line, Allcrete partnered with Euclid Chemical
Company in Cleveland, Ohio, the leading manufacturer
of concrete and masonry construction products in North
Allcrete trusted Euclid because that’s where they procured
their materials to install their stamped concrete surfaces.
“We felt confident about Euclid’s quality because that’s
what we worked with every day on site,” continued
Mr. Matalon. “We liked how innovative Euclid was with
their product lines. Since Allcrete is passionate about
bringing the best quality building products to Jamaica,
we became the distributor for Euclid in Jamaica.”
cement & concrete
that all Euclid products are verified through ISO 9001
certification. Euclid offers complete solutions for every
concrete project, and Allcrete delivers those solutions to
“We started with concrete surfaces, but we’ve grown a lot
in a short time,” explains Mr. Matalon. “We understand the
importance of innovation and professionalism. We supply
top-quality products because we believe in building a
better Jamaica. We partner with the best, because we
believe Jamaica deserves nothing less.”
Although Allcrete dove further into the world of concrete,
they didn’t forget their roots: flooring. In 2016, Allcrete
became the distributor and certified installer for STONHARD
in Jamaica. STONHARD, a brand known for its seamless,
long-lasting, easy-to-clean flooring systems, is a major slice
of Allcrete’s product pie. Engineered for both industrial
and commercial markets, Stonhard effortlessly joins form
and function in any tough manufacturing environment.
“Companies in Jamaica were looking to increase the
exportation of their products and that required adhering
to certain global health qualifications. STONHARD
floors meet those qualifications through many of their
certifications, HACCP being one of the main certifications
companies needed. The name STONHARD speaks for
itself as these floors are basically indestructible. Just as all
of our other products, STONHARD is of the highest caliber
and hands down the best option for high performance
flooring,” says Mr. Matalon.
Despite the challenges of the past year due to COVID-19,
Allcrete continues marching forward. They remain a young
and hungry contributor to Jamaica’s construction industry.
“We are focused on being the best at what we do. When
it comes to stamped concrete and industrial surfaces, we
ensure that our installers are well-trained, efficient and
always give 110% on every job. When it comes to our
products, our suppliers are the best to fill the needs of
the local market as they arise. We are always focused on
building our name in the industry and growing to meet the
challenges as they come,” says Mr. Matalon.
Allcrete might have been planted in concrete, but they’ve
shown that their nature is more akin to water. They remain
an adaptable, transparent force of nature in the everchanging
world of Caribbean construction. “Allcrete
knows that ingredients matter. We supply the best, use
the best and produce the best. At the end of the day, a
satisfied customer is all that matters to us.”
Through Euclid, Allcrete is able to distribute top quality
concrete admixtures, epoxies, anchoring, waterproofing,
repairs, sealants, quick-set mortars and grouting to builders
across Jamaica. Jamaican developers can rest easy knowing
Ground Engineering 84
Full Potential of
BY JAMEL BANTON, M.SC., P.ENG.
2. Cove Beach. If your property is iron shore (a rock platform
along the shoreline), you can excavate some of this rock to
create a pocket beach or cove. For this to be feasible, your
shoreline should ideally be less than 3m above sea level.
Abeach can double the value of your waterfront
property” says Rory Marsh of Keller Williams
Whether you own a resort, a villa, or a piece of
untouched waterfront land, intelligent investments in
your shoreline—like creating a beach—can open new
doors. People choose the Caribbean for what the
industry calls ‘3S Tourism’: sun, sea, and sand. What if
your property is only missing the sand?
Cove beach excavated from an ironshore at Sparkling Waters
of Hanover, a 5-bedroom villa in Jamaica
3. Breakwater Reef. If you have an existing rocky shorefront
with pebbles, a breakwater structure (reef-like structure made
of large boulders) may provide a sustainable sandy beach. Reef
breakwaters are most attractive when submerged below the
sea surface and, over time, become home to different kinds of
coral and colourful tropical fish.
When someone asks me, "Can I build a beach on
my property?" my answer is always the same: “Yes,
but that depends on how much you appreciate
the value a beach will bring to your property.”
The general rule is that if you don’t have a sandy
beach along your shoreline, it’s because nature
won’t allow it without proper intervention. Beach
creation is a science that becomes a work of art only
after you understand and respect nature and the
environment. Complex waves and seasonally varying
tides, hurricanes, and climate change are among the
forces of nature that will influence the success of your
beach. Here are the key steps to follow.
Step 1: Discover the possibilities with your
terrain. Here are some options:
1. Perched Beach. You don't always need a beach
that touches the water; a dry beach—one that's
perched away from the water—is possible. If there’s
a ledge or even a cliff at your shoreline, sand can
be placed at the top of the cliff to create a sandy
Royalton St Lucia shoreline after construction of breakwater
4. Move Seaward. If you have limited space on land, it’s
possible to reclaim part of the sea with a beach. This kind of
intervention will require structures to hold the reclaimed sandy
area in place.
5. Offshore Island. If the nearshore area is shallow, there
might be an opportunity to create a beach island close to the
shore. This is usually a visually appealing feature that becomes
a destination for guests to swim or wade out to.
Palmyra property (now Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort and Spa) before and after beach creation, which involved
moving the shoreline seaward
Offshore island created for Holiday Inn,
6. Beach Nourishment. This involves placing
sand on the beach and is needed in all the
options described above. There are different
kinds of sand that can be used. Natural
marine sand is the best but can be difficult
or expensive to source. Crushed limestone
has been used as it’s less expensive, but the
quality of this manufactured product can vary.
7. Ecosystem Strengthening. All the
approaches described above must be done
in a way that supports the natural ecosystem,
but too often we don't pay enough
attention to maintaining the natural systems
Thrilled guests watch a coordinated turtle release at Half Moon Resort
in Montego Bay
Suction dredge offshore
De-watering dredged sand
Spreading the dredged sand on the beach
that protect our beaches. We should avoid cutting
vegetation and natural dunes and instead protect the
habitat of endangered species such as sea turtles.
Step 2: Design, Planning and Permitting
You will need a permit to create a beach. Despite the red
tape, one of the many benefits of the permitting process
is that it helps you avoid creating adverse impacts to yours
or your neighbors’ property. The permitting process will
require that your design be prepared or at least vetted by a
professional to ensure its viability and sustainability for you
and the environment.
Ready to Unlock New Value from your Waterfront Property?
Owning waterfront property is a blessing and a responsibility.
Why not expand the rewards of owning such a property
with a beach that will stand the test of time? Whether for
you and your family or to please visitors, you can add tremendous
value to the property when you acknowledge and
take these steps. With hope and optimism for the future of
travel and tourism in the Caribbean, you’re only a beach
away from unlocking the real value of your waterfront property.
Step 3: Building Your New Beach
Building a beach is not like building a house. Marine construction
experts are rare. This is a highly specialised business
due to the high levels of risk in working in and around
the sea and protecting the environment. Your permit will
come with conditions for you to guarantee this is done
When it’s all done, an important part of your mindset must
be daily maintenance. A beach is like a garden, needing
care to be kept beautiful and well-manicured.
Jamel Banton, a Coastal Engineer, has been designing and
building beaches at Smith Warner International since 1997
and is now the Managing Director.
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