Contractor of Kato Secondary oppose Audit findings
During a recent visit to the Kato Secondary School in Region 8, an auditing company contracted by the current Government, Rodrigues Architects Limited, highlighted several structural defects in the school which were completed in 2015 by Kares Engineering.
The company said remedial works to the facility could cost in excess of $140M. Among the issues highlighted were bad timbers, exposed electrical outlets, cracking stairways and exposed steel. The company also pointed out 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.
However, in a statement, Kares Engineering disclosed that the school was built to the “rigid” specifications pre-determined by the government at the time.
“The building meets and in many cases exceeds the contract specifications. This was accepted by the supervising consultant. ALL specifications and changes in design or materials were made by the Government of Guyana and passed on to the Kares Engineering. Kares Engineering made no independent decision to change or alter any specification” the contractor said.
It added that the project was completed, within budget, accepted and received by the Government of Guyana without complaint on its completion, while no request was made for corrections.
Kares Engineering said it is confident that the school will pass a compression strength test, the standard for concrete testing, while there is a current warranty under which the building is eligible for free termite treatment for the five years from the date of the contract completion.
Despite all of the faults highlighted, the contractor said “To date Kares Engineering is not in receipt of a complaint or request for corrective works. The building was under warranty and corrections could have been made. The Government requested NONE. The building has a few cracks which is common to concrete structures and could have been corrected under the defects liability period. This was NEVER requested.”
Residents of the village had 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 and 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.
However, the company said “Initially one team requested $300 per but later we were able to negotiate with another village team for a cost of $150 per BM (we have payment sheets to show this)”
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, but the contractor said: “workers in the village of Kato were paid on average $9,000 per a day, this is higher than wages paid to similarly unskilled workers in Georgetown.”
A detailed ten-page response was sent to the audit firm the company said.
The cost of the project was $7298 Billion, however, the contractor said it received $662 and is still owed $66M.
According to media reports, Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson ruled out the company being paid the remaining GYD$66 million, given the current state of the school. He also noted that the company is aware of the defects, however, they were not asked to fix it since “obviously if somebody was willingly and knowingly did the works that were executed, really it is not wise to ask them to fix it.”