Fiji reviews national housing policy; certified home plan to be provided free

Homes that were destroyed by TC Yasa in Galoa, Bua. Picture: FT FILE

The Fijian Government – through the Ministry of Housing – is reviewing its national housing policy to ensure citizens build a home that meets the minimum structural standards to withstand strong cyclones.

During a virtual webinar consultation organised by the Asian Development Bank, Minister for Housing Premila Kumar attributed the review of the policy to the frequent occurrence of natural disasters that had had a major impact on our housing sector.

“The frequent and increasing occurrence of natural disasters had a major impact on the housing sector, especially those living in the rural and maritime areas as well as informal settlements,” Mrs Kumar said in a Government statement.

She said in most cases, weak house structures built using timber, tin and other materials did not meet the minimum structural standards to withstand even the weakest tropical cyclone.

“Recognising this, the Fijian Government is currently reviewing its National Housing Policy. The intention is to introduce long term, resilient housing solutions to all Fijians.”

Mrs Kumar said to assist Fijians, a category four engineer certified plan had been designed and would be provided to maritime dwellers at no cost.

“This new design has a ‘core house’ which includes a concrete structure with living room, kitchen and sanitation facilities.

“In case of an emergency, the living room can be easily converted to a sleeping area and this can be a ‘safe house’ for the family.

“The second component is a timber structure extension, with two bedrooms separating the core house by a covered breezeway.”

Designs can be downloaded online and endorsed by municipal councils, and councils will also supervise the construction and ensure all compliance is met.

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