Schools project stalled again

TOPSchoolsprojectstalledLEAD

One of the major subcontractors
working on the completion of Grand Cayman’s two new public high schools
finished work at the two school construction sites this week and pulled their
remaining workers out for the time being.

According to a joint statement
released by the Cayman Islands Education Ministry and the subcontractor on
Wednesday, Caribbean Mechanical (High Schools) 2008 – the subcontractor – is
waiting on certain works by other subcontractors that are be hired for the
project.

“Caribbean Mechanical (High Schools
2008) Limited has begun to demobilise its workers from both of the sites of the
new high schools as Caribbean Mechanical’s work is now in advance of the other
trades,” the joint statement read. “This will allow the new construction management
arrangements to be implemented.”

Caribbean Mechanical (High Schools)
2008 Chief Executive Alan Roffey declined to comment when contacted by the Caymanian
Compass, other than to state that his company remains committed to finishing
the work on the schools and assisting the government. 

According to the government’s joint
statement: “The Cayman Islands Government anticipates that the arrangements
with the new (schools project) construction manager, including mobilisation of
its work force, should be finalised this week. In addition, the Ministry is
also preparing to issue multiple new trade contracts to the contractors who
will be managed by the new construction manager and additional tender packages,
for a number of work scopes, which will be advertised in the next two weeks.”

The government statement did not
indicate whether the delay would cost it any more money.

The statement also did not provide
any information regarding whether other project subcontractors had been hired
since the new construction management team came on board.

According to the Cayman Islands
Central Tenders Committee website, three separate requests for proposal for the
supply and installation of concrete and a fourth tender for the installation of
louvers have been advertised for the high schools projects. It was unclear at
press time whether any of those contracts had been awarded.

The schools construction projects
have faced interminable delays since the former contractor on the project – Tom
Jones International – walked off the job site last year.

The difficulty with the previous
schools contractor involved disputes over some 85 change orders in the project,
which totalled more than $17 million, according to Tom Jones International. The
Tom Jones contract was cancelled by government and the construction firm sued.

Tom Jones International was also
sued by Caribbean Mechanical, which was seeking more than $2 million for work
done on the high school sites through the end of September. Mr. Roffey has
previously said Caribbean Mechanical was not paid for that work.

In its lawsuit, Tom Jones is seeking
nearly $3 million from the government — an amount the construction company
said it is owed.

Following the Tom Jones departure,
government put out bids to hire a construction manager for the project. Work on
the schools restarted in January and has continued in at least a limited
capacity under the supervision of the Ministry’s project management team. In
September, the government hired a conglomerate of local firms to assist with construction
management.

According to Education Minister
Rolston Anglin, the winning bid among five came in at just under $2.3 million.
It was awarded to Dart Enterprises Construction Company, McAlpine Ltd, and Arch
and Godfrey.

Mr. Anglin told the Legislative
Assembly in mid-September that the construction manager expected to be “fully
mobilised within the next 30 days”.

The manager will focus first on the
completion of the Clifton Hunter High School and will also seek to complete the
initial phase of work on certain buildings at the new John Gray High School
campus,
Mr. Anglin said. 

TOPSchoolsprojectstalledSTORY

Crews head out from the new John Gray High School construction site last Friday.
Photo: Brent Fuller

1 COMMENT

  1. In my simple mind this entire procurement process is flawed. Who is advising the powers that be. The cost to finish these schools will be extremely high not to mention the time it will take to be completed. This is linked to another article previously listed of ‘why is the Gov. paying extraordinarily high sums of money for advice from foreign consultants" which is wrong and has always been wrong from the onset of teh Schools project.
    Revisit your procurement process if you want to save money

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