Construction dream team bids on high schools

A team of Cayman’s top construction
companies has joined forces to bid on the construction management contract to
complete two unfinished high schools.

The newly formed joint venture
entity is called Cayman Construction Management Ltd. and was formed by Arch
& Godfrey, McAlpine, Hadsphaltic and DECCO. The company submitted the bid
Friday, the deadline for tender submissions.

A press release was issued about
the bid submission Friday afternoon.

“CCML is a joint venture formed for
the sole purpose of responding to the government’s bid for the two high
schools,” the press release stated. “The partners all hold the view that the
local company CCML is the best, most practical approach under the circumstances
with time, value and risk mitigation all being of critical importance to
solving this particular problem.”

The projects to build Clifton
Hunter High School in Frank Sound and a new John Gray High School in George
Town experienced a number of difficulties, culminating in the walk-off from
both sites by the then-general contractor Tom Jones International in
mid-November last year. The government terminated its contracts with Tom Jones
the following month and the projects have remained dormant since then, with
exception of some remedial site works by subcontractors.

The Ministry of Education decided
to opt for a construction manager rather than a new general contractor and
invited bids for the position last month. The tender advertisement estimated
the value of construction activities remaining on the combined schools at $60
million to $70 million.   Minister of
Education Rolston Anglin said about $70 million had already been spent on the

The press release issued by Cayman
Construction Management said the high schools projects required a construction
management firm to take over when the highest level of resources was required
and without the time usually given to gradually build a management team.

 “By coming together to form this one-time
single endeavour, CCML will be able to move quickly to take the project
forward,” the press release stated, adding that if awarded the tender, the
joint venture would be dissolved after the completion of the high schools.

“Importantly, each of the partner
firms can leverage its existing experience and expertise, thus minimising the
need to import construction managers from overseas, who would require a much
steeper learning curve than a local firm would.”

Heber Arch of Arch & Godfrey called
the joint venture an “innovative approach to a complex, challenging
construction project”.

“As a local organisation made up of
Caymanian companies, our comprehensive solution will provide the best value to
the government,” he said. “We also feel a great sense of pride and national
accountability to ensure these two schools are completed to a high standard and
to serve the best interest of the country.”

McAlpine Managing Director Ian
Pairaudeau, said the successful bidder would have to meet an aggressive
completion timeline and limited recruiting time.

“The advantage of CCML is that it
allows us to pool our locally based professional staff, keep the work in Cayman
and avoid the costly time delays of having to recruit a large team from off


Responding to questions through
AtWater Consulting Ltd., the joint venture rejected the notion that by having
all of Grand Cayman’s largest construction companies band together to bid on
the project could negatively affect the competitiveness of the bid process.

“The CCML approach makes our single
bid more competitive than any of the four CCML partner companies could offer
individually,” the company said. “The cost of recruiting and employing the
management staff for such a short contract period – 10 months for Clifton
Hunter – would have attached a price premium, and would have involved
significant recruitment from overseas.

“Working together as CCML, our four
companies can provide the majority of the resources from within our existing
staff complement, thus reducing our costs and the cost to the government, as
well as keeping the economic benefits in the Cayman Islands.”

The company noted that the
government had extended the bid invitation to international companies to
explore the competitive pricing expected from slow construction conditions in
the US and worldwide.

“CCML will be competing with international
contractors who have formed alliances with local companies or with other local
joint ventures,” the company said.  “This
competitive set will provide a market comparison.”

The company said its bid was
“competitive and complete” and that it hoped its bid was lower than some of the

“It is important to recognise the
unusual constraints involved in this project, namely the stage in the
construction management cycle and the short time frame to completion,” the
company said. “We remain confident that our innovative solution will provide
best overall value to the Cayman Island Government.”


  1. This is the way we got into trouble in the first place.
    Cancel this project NOW. This is no way to balance the budget.
    Put the 70 million toward the budget deficit.

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