BUILDING CODE: a set of rules that instructs people in designing 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 can withstand natural disasters as well as the wear and tear of time.


STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: a civil engineer who analyses, designs, and builds structures to support significant weights



Using “Metal Home” techniques, a fully outfitted, hurricane and earthquake resistant, three-bedroom house can be built by six workers in about two months.

Jean Picchiottino (Date of Birth: 27th Nov 1937)

Caribbean Icons in STI Vol 2

Dr Jean Picchiottino oversaw the building of the Mount Hope Medical Sciences Complex in Trinidad, the most advanced hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean at the time. He is highly respected for this expertise in construction and his role in preparing world-class building codes for Trinidad and Tobago.

Jean Michel Lucien Picchiottino was born in Savoie, France on 27th November, 1937. His father’s role in rebuilding France after World War II inspired him to study architecture but he later changed his mind to pursue his Engineering Certification at the prestigious L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers. He completed his doctorate in Soil Mechanics at the University of Grenoble in 1962.

Dr Picchiottino served in the military for two years before entering the family business. In 1964, he became a consultant in soils investigation and building construction. He was a technical director for two leading French engineering firms before joining the international firm, SODETEG, in 1983. He managed 13 subcontracting companies and 1400 workers during the construction of Mount Hope. Immediately afterward, he managed the construction of Madeleine Hospital in French Guiana, which accommodates 325 patients.

In 2001, Dr Picchiottino became a consultant engineer. With Agostini Industries in Trinidad, he developed and implemented the “Metal Home” concept, which allowed Agostini to build houses quickly, efficiently, economically and to international standards bu using custom-made components. He was also involved in many marine projects in the English and French-speaking Caribbean and French Guiana.

Dr Picchiottino served on several committees of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards and was the Technical Secretary and Designer in the preparation of the Small Building Guide of Trinidad and Tobago. He contributed to the National Physical Planning Code, Storm Water Drainage Code and the Plumbing Code of Trinidad and Tobago.

He advises young people to, “Always strive, always achieve… Money is not the point of life… Do what makes you comfortable, and never be afraid to get your hands dirty.”