Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Construction projects must adhere to building regulations


Constructing a new building requires a lot of hard work and planning and comes with zoning regulations. Recently, newly built buildings have raised eyebrows and concerns among residents from Ambergris Caye regarding improper protocols. Some recent projects are constructed between border and property lines, and the size of newly built buildings appears to be on the edge of the street, not complying with regulations.
In collaboration with the Central Building Authority, the San Pedro Town Building Unit (SPTBU) regulates construction in San Pedro. According to building laws, any construction must leave a space of five feet on two sides of a structure, with a minimum of ten feet at the back and eight feet for parking in the front. These laws are to clear the streets of congestion and prevent the spread of fires. However, some appear not to follow proper guidelines as they seem to be constructing on public property or closer to property lines than regulated. Existing buildings under renovation also need approval from the Building Unit before constructing or expanding the infrastructure. Applications for building permits can be obtained online at www.sanpedrotowncouncil.org/building-department/.
The San Pedro Sun contacted the Technical Manager from the SPTBU, Ernesto Gomez Jr, who commented on allegations of improper building codes. He said that any alteration of public areas requires their approval and that they are currently inspecting specific sites. Inspectors ensure that the public complies with all ongoing constructions of buildings, fences, drains, driveways, and designated areas according to department procedures and policies.
He mentioned that they are issuing notices to contractors where building codes are violated or unapproved due to variations in building codes. “We are ensuring that all protocols, procedures, and guidelines are followed. This serves as a reminder to all individuals or entities planning to construct something, emphasizing the importance of following due processes,” said Gomez. Additionally, he emphasized the need for the public to apply for a permit and to obtain necessary approvals from the SPTBU before building, warning that failure to follow guidelines will lead to consequences. He also mentioned that more site inspections and reports will be held and public workshops in the near future, inviting contractors, engineers, architects, draftsmen, and the general public. “These workshops are to emphasize and teach the laws and explain their importance, as by working together, with cooperation, we can ensure the proper development of the island.”
In addition, they provided information on the regulations surrounding reported construction encroaching on public spaces. It is crucial to understand that any construction on public property is considered an alteration, and those responsible can face fines and removal costs.
The SPTC and the SPTBU want to maintain a strong partnership with the private sector, as it is essential to operate with mutual respect for property, and they are working to enhance and improve the island. They advise stakeholders and residents to visit their offices for guidance and to obtain the necessary project permits. You can contact them at 226-2198 or visit their office on Barrier Reef Drive. The SPTC is open from 8AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday.

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