Grenada’s construction industry was set to boom following Hurricane Ivan and Emily according to Brandon McKinley, Builder’s Guide Construction Consultant said that the damages caused by the storm lead to a mini-boom which spread past the construction industry and into the community at large.
“The slate was wiped clean after the destruction caused by Hurricane Ivan & Emily in 2004 which created an economic boom in the construction industry. During reconstruction homeowners needed extensive repairs to their homes and many of them took the opportunity to get additional work done such as turning the space underneath their home into living accommodation which also acts as a hurricane shelter, replacing their roofs and renovating other parts of the house which was left in a mess. Placing even more pressure on what already was a strong-demand market for key building materials.
With hundreds of homes and businesses needing reconstruction in the hurricane-damaged parishes throughout Grenada and the sister isles, building contractors experienced a shortage on materials such as cement, plywood and lumber which fuelled furthur price increases on essential building materials.
When contractors struggle with ballooning costs on fixed-price jobs, they try to pass them along later, causing a ripple effect in the cost of public and private construction. The ripple extends to rental rates increases for office buildings and higher prices of new homes and renovations. Here’s a brief look at what’s happening with several key materials:
“Building costs increased over 15 percent during the past year. The reliance on building material imports increases vulnerabilities to local market risks.
Contractors are demanding that we have a couple of local cement plants, one in St Andrew’s and in St. Georges” says Brandon McKinley. “In addition to higher costs, the industry struggles to find enough skilled workers. There’s a huge ‘help wanted’ sign on this industry,”
“Homeowners are also requesting high quality roofing materials, and are disappointed in the quality and range that are imported. Installing a concrete tile roof is a good investment in the long term. The benefits are a more hurricane resistant roof, it is more durable lasting up to 75 years - needing little or no maintenance reflecting an automatic increase in your property’s value, and also gives a much more attractive and I think more upmarket look to your home.
Very often homeowners spend a considerable amount of money on large external walls, that add little or no value, whereas the cost could be more practically spent on the roof.”
“The effects of these natural disasters also impacted negatively on our schools, hospitals and other essential services. This experience should serve as the perfect opportunity to establish an overall long term strategy to rebuild the country into a modern caribbean island ready for the global climate that is changing so rapidly. We should not be looking back in 10 years time saying if only we did this or that.”