The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA), today (February 16), hosted a virtual stakeholder sensitisation session, primarily targeted at stakeholders in the construction sector.
The session provided information on the concrete kerb unit monitoring programme, which will be launched in April 2022 and monitored by the NCRA.
In his remarks, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn, said across the country the Government has been investing heavily in road infrastructure.
“We have to implement checks and balances against the environmental vagaries which cause wear and tear on our road network. Concrete kerbs, which are constructed to the required standards, have proven to be a critical element in effecting sustainable road networks,” Dr. Dunn argued.
He noted that concrete kerbs direct surface water into drainage systems, create a boundary between the carriageway and pavement, and they allow surface water to drain away by forming a channel.
“Additionally, kerbs are necessary for the safety of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians as they provide physical checks to prevent vehicles leaving the carriageway. In the Jamaican context, where the number of road crashes and fatalities is of great concern, this is particularly important,” the State Minster said.
Dr. Dunn noted that the Disabilities Act, which came into effect on Monday, February 14, 2022, requires that people with disabilities are treated fairly and equally and are able to fully participate in society.
“We, therefore, have a duty of care to ensure that pedestrians who need mobility support can benefit from kerbs, which not only afford ease of movement and access but which are also resilient and reliable,” he said.
He noted, further, that the concrete kerb unit monitoring programme will help ensure that all users of the roadways are further protected as they use public thoroughfares.
The State Minister added that the NCRA inspectors will be guided by the Jamaican Standard Specification for Concrete Kerb Units – Requirements and Test Methods, JS 329:2014, which specifies materials, properties and test methods for concrete kerb units that are intended for use in trafficked, paved areas.
Dr. Dunn said the team of the Import and Domestic Commodities Inspectorate will be vigilant in its monitoring.
“You, critical participants in the built environment industry, must, however, play your part in providing safe spaces for both our citizens and our visitors alike,” he stated.
He also used the opportunity to call on all relevant agencies, such as the National Works Agency, the Master Builders’ Association, the National Housing Trust, and parish councils to undertake their due diligence to ensure compliance with the Standards.
Action can be taken against manufacturers who fail to adhere to the requirements of the Standards Act and Regulations. Any individual who fails to comply is considered guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of $3 million and/or imprisonment.
“I, therefore, urge all of you to familiarise yourselves with all the necessary standards and train your teams to adhere to them. Enforcement activities begin in April 2022, and the NCRA commits to inform and educate you, our critical stakeholders, ahead of its commencement,” Dr. Dunn said.
Data collected over the period 2019 to 2021 indicate opportunities for improvement and strengthening of compliance with the requirements of the Jamaican Standard Specification for Concrete Kerb Units – Requirements and Test Methods, JS 329:2014.