Fixing structural defects at Kato Secondary could cost over $140M – auditing company
Remedial works for the construction of the Kato Secondary School in Region 8 could cost in excess of $140M, according to representatives of the auditing company, Rodrigues Architects Limited.
The remedial cost, along with several structural defects, was highlighted during a media site visit to the school on Wednesday.
During a tour of the school, Managing Director of the company, Albert Rodrigues, explained that the school had countless structural defects which were highlighted in both a draft and final report of the project submitted to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
The report highlighted issues ranging from the prioritising of cost effectiveness over professional competence to the use of inadequately qualified consultants for the project and flawed design of the building.
Amongst the areas highlighted by architect Davendra Doodnauth were bad timbers, exposed electrical outlets, cracking stairways and exposed steel.
Additionally, he noted that the classrooms were incorrectly placed away from the windward side and would ultimately lead to hot, uncomfortable classrooms while the dining room and kitchen could not accommodate the school’s projected number of students.
Safety concerns were also noted since the school lacked fencing. This was of special concern due to the fact that the school would be housing at least 250 students in its dormitories.
The Managing Director of the Company advised against opening the school for the September 2016 school term. He opined that it would take at least six months to execute remedial works, which would amount to at least $140M.
Meanwhile, residents of the village shared that while there had been an agreement to use both local workers and local content; this agreement had been reneged on by the contractor. While the community was initially hired to cut the timber at the start of the project at $80/BM, this contract was taken away from them and given to someone else at the rate of $30/BM.
It was also shared that the initial wage of $7,000 per day that was to be paid to workers was actually never paid. Rather, workers were paid $2,500 per day, $1,200 of which was deducted each day for meals.
Meanwhile, the Toshao of Kato explained that the residents were anxious for the school’s opening. He said that the situation at the Paramakatoi Secondary School has become untenable due to overcrowding. He added that students were being forced to attend schools as far away as Sand Creek, Region Nine due to the lack of available facilities.
Following the tour, Rodrigues shared with the media that, despite the poor state of the works, the contractor was nonetheless urged by the previous administration to complete the school before the May 2015 general and regional elections.
The contract for the project was awarded in late 2012 to Kares Engineering Inc. and work commenced in 2013, with a completion date set for April 2015. However, the project was delayed on two other occasions. Most recently, a detailed assessment revealed that approximately 60 percent of the project was in defects, with another 30 percent just over the borderline. Only about 10 percent of the project was structurally sound.