Keith Mokotupu: Building sector is ‘blind leading the blind’

Friday January 24, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear editor, My letter is a direct complaint aimed towards Infrastructure Cook Islands’ Building Control Inspectors and not Infrastructure Cook Islands’ boss, who no doubt has her own problems dealing with “dry wood” that needs pruning and to be tossed on the heap.

If I may.

In November 2019, I completed a new-build for two wonderful couples (from heaven). A place where they can call home to keep the rain out, and no fires, as our hearts go out to Australians who have suffered immensely today.

The new build needed the final Certification of Occupancy and no one else under the sun can issue such a document but the Building Control Inspectors. Their responsibility entails that they physically visit the said site and scrutinize the new build to see if such a building is built to the specifications. Then they leave issuing a carbon copy indicating the human errors.

I can tell you that they don’t scrutinise frameworks nor are they up to date with the AU/NZ Frame Construction Codes 2019, in order to familiarise themselves with codes restricted to hurricanes zones.

The list goes on.

Yesterday, January 23, there was still no Certification of Occupancy.

This document is vital and life-saving for any client who takes possession of their new home. Their next step is to take the Certification of Occupancy to their insurance brokers to cover their investment.

This has not affected the Building Inspectors’ ways of approaching their responsibilities.

Should these clients – or any property-owners – home burn down to the ground from November 2019 to 23 January 2020 (a lot can happen in 83 days in a hurricane-prone zone) who should take the responsibility of copping the blame with no insurance cover?

The Building Control Inspectors? Yeah right!

This is not the first time this has happened.

I grew up as a kid alongside these now Building Inspectors. This is not an isolated issue but one of ignorance and no accountability.

Infrastructure Cook Islands needs more educated Building Inspectors. The type that have built a life overseas as Building Inspectors. The type that mostly possess trade backgrounds and practical knowledge base.

We don’t want to hurt our own friends we grew up with now fully fledged adults. Because we truly understand that these problems are our problems. It cannot be their problems.

My issue is, how can we choose leaders among ourselves, whom we all love and grew up together, and not notice that it’s the blind leading the blind.

No! I’m not asking for the moon!

I do not want more papa’as. But lately, that seems to be the mind-set for a needed paradigm shift.

Thank you, Mr Editor, yours in concern.

Keith Mokotupu

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