Fiji needs standards written into building code

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Policy planning consultant Janis Fedorowick (left) speaks to the participants as Chahan Engineers director Shavin Chand looks on during the Review of the National Building Codes consultation in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Fiji needs standards written into the building code to address termites, one of the biggest issues in the Western Division, says policy planning consultant Janis Fedorowick.

Speaking at a public consultation on the Review of the National Building Codes in Nadi last week, she said proposed changes to the legislation would ensure Fijians were building termite resistant homes and buildings.

“Currently, there are not many standards within the building codes to cater for this issue,” she said.

“All we have are best practices. “There will be standards put in the building code and they will be based on the Australian building codes and standards.”

Ms Fedorowick said with the proposed changes to the building code, homes would be protected from the invasive insects.

“The strategy with this is we want to build physical barriers as opposed to chemicals because it is a lower harm solution and it is not environmentally harmful.

“What we would look at first is recommending the use of termite resistant building materials to start with and to install termite resistant barriers below and on top of the foundations to help protect the building.”

She said this would also require building materials that were resistant to termites being made available in the market.

“This would require people to consider what the resistant materials are.

“We know that we can rely on concrete and steel and other metals and stones so we would recommend that these be the primary building materials for the structural components at the ground level.

“We have had some recent information about fibre cement wood which was previously considered to be termite resistant but that no longer is the case and that is something that is being investigated by the Fiji Institute of Engineers.

“So we will not necessarily say that it is termite resistant at this point because that is being questioned but this is something to be aware of and to be on top of for the next six months or year before recommendations come from the Fiji Institute of Engineers.”

She said that chemical treatment was part of the current building code but it was the least environmentally friendly option.

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