Local contractors get chance to build low-cost homes

| 05/01/2010

(CNS): Time is running out for small local contractors that want to get in on the chance to be involved in the building of the next phase of the government’s affordable housing project. Although the initiative which has caused controversy in the past, the current minister with responsibility for housing is taking a new approach and instead of seeking one large contractor is aiming to engage a number of smaller local firms. The deadline for anyone who wishes to be placed on the prequalified list needs to contact the NHDT before Friday 8 January.

At a recent open house meeting hosted by the Ministry of Community Affairs and Housing and the National Housing Development Trust ( NHDT) Mike Adam explained that prequalification means that a contractor may participate in the public tender for contracts under the project.

A significant number of local contractors from the construction industry turned up to the meeting to hear about the plans for the project and the opportunities on offer. Adam explained that the meeting was to help guide licensed small contractors through theprequalification process for providing construction services in the next phase of the NHDT’s Affordable Housing Project. 

According tot he ministry the project is scheduled to begin in January 2010, the plans under this new project phase are to build 12 homes in East End and 20 more in West Bay.  

“We felt it timely to begin dialogue with our partners on the critical issue of shelter for our people. We also need to lay the groundwork to forge new partnerships for providing that shelter,” Adam stated. He said reaching out to small contractors was a signal of the government’s intention to take a fresh approach to awarding contracts locally.

“Instead of awarding a single contract to one large entity to provide construction service as in the past, this time we will include more small players,” the Minister explained. This approach Adam said, was the ministry’s way of supporting some of the small businesses that contribute significantly to the country’s economy.

However, the support was not an automatic thing and Adam old contractors that the NHDT’s expected those involved to be reputable contractors. “Even as we open the doors for small contractors, we are still demanding a high standard of accountability. We are, however, confident that many of our small companies are capable of delivering top class work – on time, within budget and with all standards met.”

As well as providing low cost housing to Caymanians, the government is hoping the project will give a boost to the local economy and provide work for the rising level of unemployed local construction workers. Contractors will also be expected to source raw materials locally assisting the retail sector as well and NHDT Chairman Stephen McLaughlin said that the NHDT will stress the need to hire Caymanian workers.  

McLaughlin explained that the contracts would be directly between the NHDT and the general contractor who would in turn establish separate relationships with sub-contractors which would need to be licensed.

According to Government information services  contractors interested in pre-qualifying for the next phase of the NHDT Affordable Housing Development need to meet a number of standards and hold a certain level of experiences. Contractors should have a history in general construction, particularly demonstrable experience in constructing single family and multi-residence dwellings. They will need to have experienced personnel—including owners, construction manager and/or foreman, a valid Trade and Business License and employee pension and benefits in place.

. The government said contractors should have a proper mailing address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail as well as suitable bank references (demonstrating a $15,000 line of credit), suitable proof of insurance (contractor’s all risk, public liability and employer’s liability) of at least $250,000 and workmen’s compensation.

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  1. Anonymous says:

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  2. Peter Milburn says:

    Good work Mike getting the smaller contractors together.Here is a golden opportunity for those not working fulltime to get busy and start earning some much needed $’s.I dont want to hear people moaning that they cant get jobs when all this comes online so wake up folks and get on the bandwagon.Even if you are unskilled you should be able to handle manual labour and help to ease the hardships of your families at this point in time.

              Take advantage of this chance folks.It may not come again for awhile.Steve I think you should take it a step further and INSIST that Caymanian labour be first and foremost.I hope this will all come to pass and that local Caymanians will benefit from this much needed work being presented to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great in theory. But to make it affordable housing they are going to have to build it cheap. Cheap labour means imported, as despite the economy being in the toilet, Caymanians would still rather stick to crime than labouring for 8 bucks an hour.

      • A Concerned Caymanian says:

        How very negative of you!  Caymanians are morethan willing to work but they should not be exploited.  As for the crime it is a select few (non-Caymanians and Caymanians) that are committing these crimes and not the majority of our populations.

        I think that they should encourage these contractors to hire those persons listed at Employment Relations as unemployed.  This would reduce our unemployment rate drastically and hopefully the economy will pick up this year to accommodate these unemployed individuals with steady work after this project.