Despite a near-$275,000 contract being spent by the former NDP government to restore the airport administration complex, an additional $650,000 is now needed to complete what is being described as poorly-done repairs to the building.
Speaking in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, Premier Andrew Fahie said that the former government curiously padded thousands of dollars more to the initial $225,000-repair project before demitting office.
“Just before the February general election, the previous [BVI Airports Authority] board and management issued a variation of the contract in the sum of an additional $48,000. The cause of this 21.33% contract variation cannot be sufficiently explained. May I say there are no copies of board resolutions to support the issue of the contract and the variation.”
And while suggesting shoddy workmanship on the repairs, the Premier said he has been made to understand that the construction and repair plan also had no approval from the local building authority.
“The contractor left no provisions inside the walls for electrical installations. Now the Authority must face additional costs for boring the walls to conceal and secure the electrical wiring, or they must use sheet-rock to create a façade to conceal the electrical wiring – this is after the deliberate decision to use blocks instead of sheet-rock,” he said.
Cost for completed repairs will be almost tripled
Fahie, who is also Minister of Finance, further said the cost of the total repairs will almost triple upon completion.
“The new board has advised that they have found estimates and other project documents in relation to this project, and these show that the remainder of work required to complete the repairs to this 100 x 50 building is $650,000,” Fahie said.
“This would take the total for the repairs to this small building, inclusive of the unexplained variation, beyond $1 million – which is triple what the cost was initially assumed to be,” he added.
According to Fahie, the scope of the repairs that should have been done the first time around included the reconstruction of the roof in concrete and use of concrete wall blocks inside instead of sheet-rock.
“The logic was that in the event of the windows being blow off during a severe weather event, the concrete blocks walls would not have to be replaced whereas the sheetrock walls would be damaged,” Fahie said.
Employees are affected
The complex, like the rest of the territory, sustained severe damage during the 2017 hurricanes.
As a result, many government offices had to be relocated, and employees were forced to work in less than ideal situations.
“They remain in this haphazard arrangement today, even after hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on repairing the administration building by the previous Board, management and the ministry with responsibility for the airport,” Fahie said.
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