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REPORT

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REPORT

    FINAL REPORT

DEVELOPMENT CONTROL AUTHORITY TRAINING PROGRAMME

    OCTOBER 9 13, 2000

The Training Programme for staff of the Development Control Authority was held during

    the week of October 9 - 13, 2000 at the Multi-Purpose Exhibition Centre and at the

    Conference Room of the Heritage Hotel. The Development Control Authority wishes to

    express its gratitude to all who contributed to the success of this first training programme

    for its staff. In particular we thank the organization of American States through Mr. Steven Stichter for providing funding for two resource persons to assist in conducting the training

    workshop. Our thanks also to Mr. Al Wason, Mr. Earl Jardine, Mrs Marsha

    Lougheed-Paige and Ms. Rosemary Georges for taking time off their busy schedules to

    share their knowledge and experience with us.

Mrs. Marsha Lougheed-Paige of the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs conducted the

    first session entitled 'The Legal Framework for Land Use Planning and Development

    Control'. The session was well received by the staff and addressed many of their questions

    and concerns about the legal basis for the Authority's actions, especially in executing its

    development control functions. In particular, the following issues were raised:

    1. Traffic Signs - Are these included in the definition of signs and advertisements which

    require development permission?

    2. Under what conditions Inspectors may be refused entry to a development site and what

    course of action is available to them under such circumstances. 3. The Development Control powers assigned to other agencies (eg the National Parks

    Authority and St. John's Development Corporation) under their governing legislation

    and potential conflicts with and duplication of the powers assigned to the DCA under

    the Land Development and Control Act, 1977.

    4. Procedures for service of notices under the Land Development and Control Act and the

    proper authority for preparing and signing notices.

Mrs Lougheed-Paige urged the participants to recognise the Land Development and

    Control Act of 1977 and the Land Development Control Regulations of 1996 as the

    essential 'Tools of their Trade'. As such, they should become very conversant with the

    provisions of the Act and accompanying regulations, carry it around at all times and keep

    proper and detailed written records of all their activities, especially in respect of dealings with applicants and developers.

The session which followed was scheduled to be conducted by Ms. Jennifer Maynard,

    Liaison Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture. However, Ms. Maynard was unable to

    attend and at very short notice, Ms. Rosemary Georges (Coordinator of the OAS Post

    Hurricane Georges Disaster Mitigation Project) agreed to act as the facilitator for this

    session.

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    FINAL REPORT October, 2000

The session entitled 'Mission and Vision' was seen as a valuable opportunity to enable the

    DCA staff to discuss the actual and perceived roles of the DCA; their individual roles

    within the Authority and to articulate their vision for the future of the DCA. Ms. Georges

    also assisted the staff in articulating the essential elements of a mission statement for the

    Authority. This will be developed further and discussed in order to arrive at a service

    mission which will guide the staff in carrying out their daily functions efficiently in

    fulfillment of the overall purpose of the DCA.

The main elements of the Mission and Vision as defined by the staff are as follows:

    1. To treat everyone equally on a one to one basis, regardless of their status.

    2. The DCA should become a statutory body which governs itself and handles its

    own money, especially funds generated from fees, to purchase necessary

    supplies and furniture.

    3. All members of staff, including the Head, senior and junior staff, should pull their

    weight.

    4. Make time to deal with the public and all staff (including the Head) should have a

    positive attitude to members of the public.

    5. All staff should show consideration and respect to the general public and each

    other.

    6. Representation should be made to Cabinet to ensure that all potential developers

    follow proper procedures and not bypass the DCA in giving the green light to

    development projects.

    7. Increase the public profile of the DCA and foster the image of a body with 'teeth'

    and the will to implement its decisions and which commands the respect of the

    public. In respect of development projects, no development decisions should

    be made without the input of the DCA.

    8. Increase public recognition of the purpose and functions of the DCA.

    9. Staff needs to be happy and pleased with their efforts and be comfortable in their

    surroundings.

    10. Ensure staff has the tools necessary to do their job and to allow the DCA to

    function efficiently.

Some members of staff expressed the hope that similar sessions could be scheduled in

    future and more time devoted to developing a Mission Statement for the Development

    Control Authority. They also suggested that in-house sessions could be organized to help

    staff deal with conflict resolution and to develop their inter-personal and communication

    skills.

During the first afternoon session Mr. Al Wason outlined the structure and purpose of the

    Antigua and Barbuda Building Code and Building Guidelines. He stressed their roles in

    the development control process and their importance as 'tools of trade' for the Building

    Inspectors and Draughtsmen.

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    FINAL REPORT October, 2000

    The day ended with Mr. Earl Jardine (Senior Development Control Officer in the Town and Country Planning Division in Trinidad) who spoke to participants about the importance of following proper procedures for receipt and filing of applications for development permission. Mr. Jardine also met with Mrs. Karen Caleb-Francis and Mrs. Helen Harley (Applications Clerks) to discuss these procedures, existing problems and to offer solutions for improving the systems currently in place at the DCA.

    The topics covered by Mr. Jardine on Day 2 of the training programme included: ? Initial assessments of development applications ? Conducting landuse appraisals of development applications ? Analysis of applications for subdivision of land ? Importance of maintaining a Map Register

    ? Frequently used development standards and the rationale for their use ? Site Visits

    ? Requesting and conducting meetings with applicants or their agents ? Inspectors Reports and reporting format

    ? Types of decisions

    ? Decision Notices and Development Permits

    ? Monitoring and Enforcement

    ? Procedures for enforcement action

    There was much discussion about the manner in which enforcement action is currently pursued. There are some doubts as to whether or not current practice is in keeping with the spirit of the law and the rules of natural justice. In particular, it was felt that demolition should only be pursued as a last resort and after a developer has been given a reasonable period of notice in which to try and rectify the breach of provisions of the legislation. The issue of the appropriate authority to sign an enforcement notice needs to be addressed by a legal practitioner.

    On Day 3 of the training programme Mr. Wason spoke to the participants in more detail about the requirements and provisions of the Building Code and Building Guidelines. Particular emphasis was put on the following issues:

    ? Historical importance of building codes and the development of guidelines for Antigua

    and Barbuda

    ? Role of Building Inspectors and the need to increase public recognition of and respect

    for their office.

    ? Hurricane and earthquake resistant construction ? Construction materials and techniques

    ? Assessments of small domestic buildings

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    FINAL REPORT October, 2000

    The staff highlighted the need for suitable Identification Badges to be supplied for all Inspectors to replace the current badges which are not well designed. Mr. Wason recommended that all Inspectors should be provided with a working copy of each of the Antigua and Barbuda Building Code and the Building Guidelines.

    During Wednesday afternoon, the Inspectors participated in their first workshop session to familiarise themselves with the proper procedures for receiving duly completed applications; identifying and obtaining missing/additional information and making initial assessments of applications. This proved to be an extremely useful exercise as it used actual applications received by the DCA and brought into focus a number of inadequacies of the current system and procedures for receiving, filing and assessing applications for development permission. It also allowed participants an opportunity to suggest and discuss with Mr. Jardine his own recommendations for making improvements in the short and long terms.

    On Day 4, participants joined Mr. Jardine in an in-house assessment of the planning and land use implications of additional development proposals received by the DCA. This was followed by visits to the development sites to conduct detailed on-site investigations.

    A similar approach was taken on Day 5 by Mr. Wason to conduct in-house assessments of the structural issues to be considered in evaluating proposals for small domestic buildings that were received by the DCA. These issues will be discussed in more detail during a training programme for Building Inspectors sponsored by the OAS and which is scheduled to be held in Antigua in January 2001.

    My overall impression is that the programme was well received by members of staff. Most welcomed the initiative to provide them with the skills necessary to do their job. They also appreciated the opportunity to discuss some of the issues with which they are confronted on a daily basis.

    Unfortunately, the start of the training programme was delayed by one (1) week. Many of the sessions scheduled for the first week had to be postponed and the programme curtailed to one week. This was due to the failure of senior members of staff to carry out specific tasks assigned to them in a timely manner. These included following up on arrangements for securing the venue, confirming participation of a key resource person and for preparing preliminary drafts of the training material for some sessions. The remaining sessions will be rescheduled in the near future.

    However, some senior officers were noticeably absent during all but the first two sessions on Monday morning. In addition, other Building Inspectors were frequently late and/or absent for some important sessions.

    Nevertheless, the training programme achieved its objectives. It is my hope that we will continue to build on this initiative and the enthusiasm it generated and organize similar programmes on a regular basis to upgrade the skills of the Development Control Authority’s staff. Our efforts to facilitate the continuing professional and personal

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    FINAL REPORT October, 2000

development of our staff will ultimately improve the Authority’s efficiency and

    productivity.

Deborah Thomas

    Development Control Authority

    October 18, 2000.

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    FINAL REPORT October, 2000

APPENDIX 1

    RECOMMENDATIONS - AL WASON

    1. There should be a clear distinction drawn between the planning/land use analysis of

    development proposals and the analysis of proposed buildings.

    2. Separate Development/Planning permission from Building permission and issue two

    distinct Permits.

    3. The Land Development and Control Regulations should be amended to set out clearly

    the requirements for obtaining both a Development Permit and a Building Permit. This

    should include the format for the application form for a Building Permit and the

    procedures for obtaining one.

    24. For houses <3,000 ft applicants may submit one application only for both

    development/land-use and building permission.

    5. Building Inspectors should confine their analyses to small domestic buildings which 2do not exceed 3,000ft. Larger residential and commercial buildings, public-use

    buildings, institutional and industrial buildings should only be evaluated by a

    professional Engineer.

    6. The Antigua and Barbuda Building Guildelines provide adequate information for use

    by Inspectors in evaluating small domestic buildings. Guidance for evaluating larger

    buildings is contained in the Antigua and Barbuda Building Code which is aimed at

    professional Engineers.

    7. After receiving development permission, applicants will then prepare detailed building 2plans (for buildings >3,000 ft) and submit an application for a building permit. This

    will be assessed by an Engineer and a building permit issued if the drawings submitted

    satisfy the requirements of the Building Guidelines.

    8. For large buildings, plans may be assessed by Engineers at Public Works Department.

    Where this is done, the Director of PWD should attach a signed statement to confirm

    that he has examined the plans/drawings and certify that they meet ALL the

    requirements of the Building Code.

    9. All Inspectors should be familiar with Section 1 of the Building Code: Administration. 10. Amend the Building Guidelines to include a section on Administration 11. Amend the Building Guidelines to include Development Standards (including

    Subdivisions)

    12. Add Table 5.1 of the Building Code to the Building Guidelines.

    13. Amend the Code and Guidelines to deal adequately with plumbing details. 14. Develop some guidelines for use by Inspectors to assess suitability of applications on

    land-use grounds (in the absence of a landuse plan or policy statement). 15. DCA should request plumbing and electrical details on all building plans.

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    FINAL REPORT October, 2000

    216. DCA should request soil tests for construction of major concrete structures (>3,000ft

    and public and other buildings as defined in the Building Code).

    17. Mr. Wason to make arrangements for producing and shipping 15 copies each of the

    Building Code and Building Guidelines in the smaller format for use by DCA staff, on

    receipt of an advance payment of US $735 from the DCA.

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    FINAL REPORT October, 2000

    APPENDIX 2

    SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS EARL JARDINE

1. All applications should be registered in a hard cove note book;

    2. All applications should be indexed in an index book

    3. All copies of plans, application forms etc should be stamped upon receipt of

    application. Within this stamp (DCA) the date and number of the application

    should be included;

    4. Basic requirements for submission of applications should accompany each

    application form when being purchased. For general information, this list of

    requirements should be placed at strategic point within the front office for viewing

    by members of the public;

    5. The system of filing and storage of applications should be discontinued

    immediately in favour of a system whereby file jackets are used either for

    individual files or in batches of approximately five (5) applications (depending on

    the size of each application);

    6. Spaces on the metal (Dexion) filing shelves now storing applications could be

    adjusted to a smaller size to accommodate file jackets. This would immediately

    increase existing storage capacity without increasing the storage space

    requirement;

    7. A formal notice must be given in writing for decisions made on each application

    immediately after the decision is made;

    8. Consideration should be given to:

    a. One or two specific office days for all officers (Building Inspectors) to be

    in office at the same time or individual days for each Inspector/area

    depending on which system is preferred.

    b. A cut off point every day for receipt of applications and giving general

    information to and for making enquiries by members of the public. This

    would allow the clerical staff to complete registration of all applications

    and any other clerical function free from interruption from members of the

    public.

    9. Legal opinion should be sought with respect to:

    a. The validity of the present enforcement notice form and whether it would

    be able to stand scrutiny in a court of law. Areas of concern include:

    i. The form does not boldly state ‘Enforcement Notice’

    ii. It is being signed on behalf of no one.

    b. The period of time to be stipulated on an enforcement notice.

    c. Who is authorized to sign an enforcement notice on behalf of the

    Development Control Authority?

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    FINAL REPORT October, 2000

    d. Whether the notice (Form 11) should include in detail the development for

    which permission is being granted/refused etc.

    e. Whether the relevant Act No etc should be included on Form 11 which

    deals with permission either being granted, refused or returned.

Mr. Jardine’s complete report is also attached.

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    FINAL REPORT October, 2000

APPENDIX 3

    MISSION AND VISION

During this session the facilitator sought to obtain from participants their views on the

    purpose of the DCA, the goals of the Authority and their individual roles within the

    Authority. Following are a sample of the responses.

? Purpose/Mission of the DCA

? Goals

    1. Serve the public in a professional manner by delivering an excellent standard

    of service.

    2. Make the public aware of the goal and function of the DCA to ensure proper

    distribution of land and buildings.

    3. Assist developers in the development process.

    4. To ensure land use planning and development control functions work properly

    to facilitate the proper use of land in a sustainable manner and to guarantee its

    availability for future generations.

    5. Act as facilitators and create a user friendly organisation which would help

    developers to prepare development proposals.

It was noted that the Land Development and Control Act (1977) confers powers on the

    Authority. However, there is a responsibility attached to the exercise of those powers.

    That responsibility is:

? Perception of Individual Roles

    1. To be a good team member so as to facilitate the objectives of the DCA

    2. To check applications to ensure they meet the requirements of the Land

    Development and Control Act and to make sure that construction takes place

    according to approved plans.

    3. To deal with the public.

    4. Since there is no direct contact with the public, I don't see myself as having a

    particular role to play in the daily functions of the DCA. Perform a function

    but no specific role to play.

    5. Provide information to the public.

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    FINAL REPORT October, 2000

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