Date of Birth: 2nd Oct 1937
BUILDING CODE: a set of rules that guide the design of buildings and structures. These codes are written by experts and made into law by the government. They ensure that the buildings are safe and stable, and will withstand natural disasters as well as the wear and tear of time.
NATURAL HAZARD: a naturally occurring event such as an earthquake, tsunami, landslip, flood, or volcanic eruption that has the potential to cause damage to property and human life
WIND ENGINEERING: a branch of structural engineering that deals with the study of wind effects on structures
Tony Gibbs enjoys chasing hurricanes to determine the causes of damage before the evidence is destroyed! He spent 30 “wonderful” hours at the main meteorological station at the airport, monitoring Hurricane Luis in Antigua in 1995 and, while the wind was still blowing, he inspected buildings for damage.
Caribbean Icons in STI Volume 2
Mr Tony Gibbs is a pioneer in developing buildings in the Caribbean and elsewhere to withstand natural hazards such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Other interests of this civil engineer involve working with architects and other professionals to create innovative designs for hazard-resistant buildings using a variety of high-strength concrete forms.
Tony Gibbs was born on 2nd October, 1937 in St. George’s, Grenada. His parents were civil servants whose jobs entailed frequent overseas assignments. As a result, he attended 10 schools: eight primary schools in Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago, and two secondary schools, St. Vincent Boys’ Grammar School and Presentation Brothers’ College in Grenada.
His academic ability won him a Colonial Development Scholarship, which he used to attend Queen’s University in Belfast in 1957. There, he completed a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Civil Engineering in 1961. After gaining some professional experience in the field both in Trinidad and in London, he was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to pursue a postgraduate Diploma in Concrete Technology at the University of Leeds.
Mr Gibbs is truly a Caribbean man. He has worked in every country in the region and was personally responsible for over 1,600 building projects of his firm over a period of 35 years. In addition to designing buildings to withstand natural hazards, he has taken a keen and practical interest in the interrelationship of engineering and insurance.
Mr Gibbs played a critical role on the Caribbean Uniform Building Code committee and was a member of several committees on building standards, and on science and technology in Barbados. Internationally, he has held top positions at The Institution of Structural Engineers in the United Kingdom, and the American Association for Wind Engineering.
As a result of his outstanding work, Mr Gibbs has been honoured with several awards, most notably the Lewis Kent Award for service to structural engineering for three decades, given by The Institution of Structural Engineers. In 2007, he was Joint Laureate for the Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction given by the United Nations.
Mr Tony Gibbs has influenced standards and advances in building design worldwide. Currently, he is the Secretary General of the Council of Caribbean Engineering Organisations and a member of many international committees on natural hazards. He is also a member of the Disaster Mitigation Advisory Group of the Pan American Health Organization.
He advises students to, “Make the best use of opportunities that come your way. Be prepared to continue learning throughout your career.”