THE huts at High Island, some of which had their roofs damaged yesterday, cost $1 million each when they were built in 1989. The 34 huts in the camp are simple corrugated steel buildings, similar to the type used as barracks for troops during World War I and II. The Chief Property Services Manager for the Architectural Services Department, Ng Kai-kai, said the huts were chosen because they were easy and inexpensive to put up. 'There were no special requirements, because we did not know that [the boat people] were going to cause trouble at the site,' he said. 'The only security concern that we had to consider was that they were made out of non-combustable materials. 'That wasn't the first thing in our minds, but nevertheless it was the right choice . . . otherwise they would have burned them down,' he said. The buildings were designed as temporary housing and would last about 10 years, Mr Ng said. But an engineer said stronger and safer housing should have been built. The director-general of the Institution of Engineers, John Boyd, said the detention centre should not have been built from pre-fabricated materials. Mr Boyd said more conventional brick or concrete buildings could have been built, but the construction of the centre was rushed and pre-fabricated structures were chosen because they could be built more quickly. The buildings, surrounded by 5.7-metre fencing, were designed to hold a maximum of about 200 people, with three-tier two-person bunks inside each hut. The huts, which are of Dutch design, measure about four metres high, 10 metres wide and 13 metres long and are used commonly throughout Europe as storage facilities.