Archive for June 3rd, 2011

GOAB hits roof trouble

| 03/06/2011 | 82 Comments

(CNS): The government’s brand new office accommodation building, which began taking its first public sector tenants only two months ago, is reportedly leaking. As the remaining government workers finally move from the Glass House into the brand new state of the art office accommodation, sources from inside the civil service say that there are some significant problems with the roof. Although the details of the problems have not yet been revealed, a spokesperson from the relevant ministry confirmed Thursday evening that issues had arisen regarding the roof finish system which "is the subject of discussions between the parties.”

With hurricane season now upon us, CNS understands that officials from the Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands & Agriculture are now facing a difficult decision of whether or not to give the go ahead for the necessary repairs. How extensive those repairs will be have not yet been disclosed but government did confirm that as the office accommodation project was a design-build contract between government and McAlpine Ltd, the contractor “is wholly liable for the construction and any matters which arise under the design build delivery method.”

However, the danger that government now faces is removing and replacing what is believed to be a defective roof system during hurricane season with the risk of the work being interrupted by a storm and the obvious implications for the whole building, or on the other hand leaving the project until the season comes to a close exposing that reportedly defective roof, and by implication the building, to whatever weather the season brings over the next six months.

The new building, which is located on Elgin Avenue in George Town only yards away from the original government office – the Glass House, which has been plagued with problems for many years, from sick building syndrome to fire safety issues – has not yet had its official opening ceremony. There are still a number of departments that have not yet made the transfer into the brand new space.

Once it is full it will house over 1000 government workers in around 240,000 sq ft on five floors, with each floor comprising around 35,000 sq.ft — equal to the entire size of the old Glass House.

The project cost the public purse around $85 million to build but it is expected to save government more than $10 million per annum in rent and even more in utility savings due to its “green” credentials. The building has been touted as a model in energy-efficiency, environmental-friendliness and functionality with enhanced hurricane and earthquake resistance, upgraded security against theft and intrusion and superior energy efficiency and resource conservation.

Energy saving aspects are a key feature of the building, including the use of geothermal water to drive air-conditioning chillers, under-floor air supply, heat recovery from exhaust systems and efficient electrical systems that maximize the use of LED technology, the project manager revealed last year.

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