Australian High Commission
Solomon Islands

Max Granger – Climate and Disaster Risk Training Mentor for Engineers

6 December 2016

                                                       Max Granger – Climate and Disaster Risk Training Mentor for Engineers

Max Granger arrived in Solomon Islands in June 2016, after a short break in Australia, from a two-year volunteer assignment in Botswana. Following that long African assignment, a six-month assignment in Honiara looked a breeze. It wasn’t, but it has been far more rewarding.

Max is not new to Solomon Islands. In 1984 he was a consultant/trainer working on the construction of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands building in Honiara. In 1986 Max and his family were on holiday in the country when Cyclone Namu struck.

Thirty years later Max is back, this time as a volunteer on assignment with the Solomon Islands Built Environment Professional Association (SIBEPA).

SIBEPA is a professional organisation that introduces up-to-date technologies in design, material selection and construction skills to improve the Solomon Islands Construction Industry.

SIBEPA’s interest to engage a volunteer was prompted by future climate change events and the potential significant impacts it is predicted to have on Solomon Islands and other equatorial Pacific communities.

SIBEPA was concerned with the effects of climate change on building design and construction that led the organisation to seek a volunteer.

Max said this was a great opportunity to pass on his experience on efficient construction practices applicable to modern, comfortable, low-energy, cyclone-resistant houses and buildings.

“Max Granger has addressed every issue required by the Association, from training courses on Asbestos Removal to proposals for low-energy commercial office buildings and important public infrastructure works. In the past month he has presented a series of training courses on construction for cyclone conditions, to 125 builders and trades people – many of whom have been impressed enough to become members of SIBEPA,” said CEO of SIBEPA, Jerry Tengemoana.

This membership increase and the profile it has given the Association have fulfilled specified outcomes of the SIBEPA Assignment.

In a rare, sentimental moment Max added, “Volunteering in Solomon Islands is fascinating. Everyday sights like sunrise or sunset, cloud formations, tropical vegetation and smiles of island children make you glad to be alive. The islanders have embraced the electronic/communication age, but maintain strong connections with a variety of Melanesian cultural traditions and life philosophies. They retain the feel of a genuine society.”