May 2013 - Further News from Jamaica

Posted on 3 May 2013, 16:46:04
May 2013 - Further News from Jamaica

Joe Martin writes:

Now that I have been here for a couple of months my responsibilities have increased and I have started to be given more independent work to carry out.

A large proportion of my time this month has been spent assisting Mr Brown, the Inspector of Works, in the task of ensuring all road drains are clear and cross drains are in a satisfactory state before the hurricane season begins.  The hurricane season officially starts on 1st June but the serious threat of storms begins mid-way through June so it is important that the drains are clear to prevent damage to the road and allow travel in the wet periods.

The main tasks we were required to carry out were to inspect all the major cross drains, drainage gulleys and v-drains in order to ascertain the level of work required and the locations.  A report and costing schedule is prepared and submitted to enable the funds to be released.  

Task forces, providing employment for locals, were organised for bushing and clearing of the drains.  As the supervisors of these task forces appear to be selected on a random basis and therefore often are not experienced, we have to regularly visit site to provide advice to get the work carried out to a satisfactory standard and to take photographic evidence.

Whilst the large majority of the works required were simply bushing and clearing, there were certain areas that required more substantial work in preparation for the wet season.  This included both repair work to damaged roads or new drains to newly developed areas where roads had not been property constructed.  It was my job to work with the contractors and decide upon the most effective works that we could possibly carry out with the funds available!  This meant assessing where to route the rain water with the least risk of damaging property, requiring consultation with the local communities and residents.

Other tasks this month have included assessing building application drawings and giving approvals based on a scale plan, structural information, basic drainage details and a basic site plan.

As I have been her for a couple of months now, people within the department have a greater understanding of my engineering skills so I have also been asked to advise on more effective ventilation and drainage solutions for applications.

More to follow...

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