The Bahamas Building Code was written in 2003. Essentially, the code is 15 years old.
A lot has happened in the world of building codes, most notably the IBC – International Building Code.
Previously, steel buildings were allowed by the Ministry of Works to be designed to the 2006 IBC and 150mph with the appropriate risk category (I, II, III, IV) selected. The risk factor varied the design pressures used on the building design.
The 2009 IBC changed nothing in terms of the wind, and allowed steel building design to maintain the 150mph windspeed for the Bahamas.
In 2012, the IBC changed the way it applied wind loads to the building. There are now different wind maps for different risk categories in the USA. This does not apply to the Bahamas, however.
Currently, in order to meet the government requirements for building in the Bahamas, we design our buildings to IBC 2012 180mph.
Star Building‘s Director of Engineering, Allen Hurtz, PE, explains the changes from 2009-2015:
(Don’t worry, even though there was no change to the snow load, we’re still experts on roof snow loads in the Bahamas!)
The Nassau Guardian has a good article on the shortcomings and future plans for the Bahamas Building Code: