More than 25 businesses offered insight into the ins and outs of home construction or renovation at the Cayman Islands’ Builders Expo at Camana Bay’s Arts & Recreation Center this weekend.

The Hurley’s Media event put architects, contractors, technicians and designers on display to create a one-stop shop for construction needs on Friday and Saturday.

Kristen Augustine, planning officer for the Department of Planning, said new builders can avoid many delays and headaches by taking the right steps from the beginning of the planning process.

“People come to us because they are going to start to build a house or they are doing an addition and making some changes. A lot of them aren’t familiar with the planning process and where to start,” she said. “They either don’t understand the process or they do things like [not meeting] the code or the regulations and it takes longer. If it meets the regulations, it’s all quick and simple. The key thing is to hire the right architect.”

She reminded builders to consult with the 2009 International Building Code, which took effect in the Cayman Islands in December.

Design Cayman managing partner Brian Macdonald emphasized the importance of involving a qualified architect to avoid surprises that can result in higher project costs.

Lack of patience and realistic expectations can frustrate home builders, he explained.

“People are going to need advice and guidance. What we’d like to do at the show is quickly explain the process,” Mr. Macdonald said. “There can be a big disconnect between money and what people can get for their money.”

He encouraged potential builders to start a “look book” from the very beginning by tearing pages out of design magazines. From there, they can begin conceptualizing the colors, shapes and feel they’d like to create for their home with the help of an architect.

Island Electronics installations supervisor Rennie Ramoutar shared the latest “smart” security technology on the show floor. For people on the go or those traveling off island, he described how a phone app now enables remote control of security systems, home lighting and air conditioning.

“Everybody now is busy and on the go. They use their smartphones to do everything, so why not use it for your security system as well?” Mr. Ramoutar said. “Basically, if you forget to arm the system, you can log in from the app and turn it on. You don’t have to worry and go back home.”

Several solar electricity companies were also present at the show.

Precision Solar representative Dale Nickason said solar power has taken time to gain popularity on the islands, but he encouraged home owners to consider it for long-term savings.

“You can pay the power company for the rest of your life or you can eliminate your power bill,” he said.

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