Contractors unite on schools

| 19/03/2010

(CNS): Some of the biggest names in the Cayman Islands construction industry have come together in order to submit a joint bid to complete the two troubled high school projects. Cayman Construction Management Limited (CCML), a consortium of local contractors and construction management firms, experience and expertise, has submitted a bid today, Friday March 19, in response to the government’s invitation, issued last month, for tenders for construction management services to complete the two schools.

Arch & Godfrey, McAlpine, Hadsphaltic and DECCO say they have created CCML as a joint venture for the sole purpose of submitting this single bid to provide services for the completion of the Clifton Hunter and John Gray High Schools after Tom Jones International walked off the sites in November last year due to a dispute with government.

“The two high school projects require a construction management firm to take over the project in mid-cycle, at a peak of activity when the highest level of resources are required, and without the time usually afforded for a gradual build up of the management team,” CCML said in a statement. The firm said that by coming together to form this one-time single endeavour, CCML will be able to move quickly to take the project forward. The firm stated that each of the partner firms can leverage its existing experience and expertise, minimizing the need to import construction managers from overseas who would require a much steeper learning curve than a local firm.

“CCML is an innovative approach to a complex, challenging construction project. As a local organization made up of Caymanian companies, our comprehensive solution will provide the best value to the Government. We also feel a great sense of pride and national accountability to ensure these two schools are completed to a high standard and to serve the best interest of the country,” said Heber Arch of Arch & Godfrey.

The partners of CCML have more than 25 years of experience working together in the Cayman Islands alone. Some of the firms have collaborated on such large local projects as The Westin Casuarina Resort, The Hyatt Grand Cayman, Camana Bay and The Courtyard by Marriott.

Ian Pairaudeau, Managing Director of the McAlpine operation in Cayman, added  that the successful bidder is inheriting the project at a critical stage with an aggressive completion timeline and limited recruiting time. “The advantage of CCML is that it allows us to pool our locally based professional staff, keep the work in Cayman and avoid the costly time delays of having to recruit a large team from off island. It allows us to provide a more effective solution to the Government and a single firm whose exclusive purpose and focus is the satisfactory completion of the schools projects,” he explained.

CCML said that the partnership is a joint venture formed for the sole purpose of the schools bid and if successful the firm would be dissolved once they are finished. The mission is to partner with the Ministry of Education to successfully manage the completion of the projects and meet its goals and objectives, the firm stated. The partners all hold the view that the local company CCML is the best, most practical approach under the circumstances with time, value and risk mitigation all being of critical importance to solving this particular problem.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear fellow Posters!

    Did you guys not read the Miller Report? It  clearly outlined the issue to our budget/deficit was not the schools.  It is the "babying" of the CS’s pension and healthcare. 

    We all sit and bash the politicians for this and that…for doing this and not doing that.  Now that there is some movement to progress with the schools we the general public are acting no different than the politicians by posting how this is all related to "political moves".  So WHAT??!! Let us move forward with a positive attitude and let these local companies do their work. 

    For the smaller GC’s that want to bid on this type of work…why are they surprised they couldnt get the work?  Half of them over-run the average job with change orders, bid shop amongst a myriad of other un-ethical things.  The average person who has built on island knows excatly what I’m talking about!  This is work for the "Big Boys" and unless you understand about construction contracts or legalities behind the types of Contract requirements- save your time and dont post.  This is work for the local "big boys". 

    Have a Great DAY!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It seems that people here are just complaining for the sake of complaining. I don’t think anyone has said that the contractors were going to do this out of the goodness of their heart. Of course not. They have bills to pay, including peoples’ salary. What are the options? Leaving it all half finished for the next few years, just to start almost all over again later on? That sounds to me like an even bigger waste of funds! Cut back on the initially contemplated state-of-the art interior and perhaps just focus on the urgently needed buildings.

    To get the school done in a timely manner it will need a lot of manpower and equipment.

    The schools are needed as the current schools are overcrowded. The way immigration dept is going, it will be more and more people soon on permanent residency and with status grants. Where do you want to put those children?

    Do you prefer, to bring in another company from overseas? More work permits and cheap labor? At least this way the people currently employed by those 4 construction companies will keep their jobs rather than being let go, which would effect a lot of Caymanians. Who kept the small contractors from stepping up, uniting and putting a proposal forward. All they do is whine, whine, whine!

    I am so sick and tired of the constant complaining. Come up with a better solution.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why are we considering spending over 70 million dollars when there is a defecit in the range of 60-100 million dollars hanging over our heads?

    Put the projects on hold untill we can afford to pay for them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Listen folks this ploy is nothing other than collusion by the large companies on the island. Although some have been on island for a long time, they are definitely not ‘local’. This is merely a ploy to keep out some very reputable world companies from entering Cayman’s large construction project market. These companies know that once these other companies complete a job here there monopoly of large profit margins that they have held for 30 years will be over. There are other bidders who do just this type of project ‘clean up’ everyday, not just for the sake of a false national pride. And bear in mind these are not small companies pretending to be a large one like Tom Jones. These are some of the best in the world. Doesn’t Cayman deserve to have an opportunity to see what they have been missing for the past decades? If these companies were here earlier then the PPM would have know that large school projects such as these almost always use a construction management firm rather than a General Contractor. This is the new wave of construction for large projects over the past decade. CM projects also require the firm to bid on their profit margin. Yes, the government gets to decide what they want to pay in profit margins, based on who they select (along with other criteria of course). It also keeps all of the trades still an open bid process allowing small contractors to get portions of the work, enabling, establishing, and allowing a local contractor market to flourish. This is key to keeping jobs and liveable wages.

    This is another example of unchecked capitalism that has squashed the internal economies of Latin America and the Caribbean for the past five centuries. If they are not the lowest bid, by far, since they do not have experience as a true Construction Manager, not general contractor, then this is a true collusion tactic that would be tried in any court in the UK or U.S.

    If the Ministry and people can’t see that by doing this, and issuing a press conference on bid day (never heard of that one before) trying to pull at the heart strings of the people, that they are taking out the competitive bid process, then the wool is already over the eyes and unchecked capitalism has beaten us again, and we’ll continue to be economic slaves to the almighty dollar.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Let’s stop issuing contractor licenses to smaller companies and let Dart, Hadsphaltic, A & G and MacAlpine build for the country and set the rates?  $ 1,000 a square foot for building a house sounds reasonable doesn’t it?



  6. FUZZY says:

    If there are other competitive bids this might be ok;if not it will be similar to our local banks deciding rates as a group or Esso and Texaco coming together to set gas prices .Not good.

  7. Anonymous says:

    doesn’t this defeat the purpose of competitive tendering?

    you are being fooled if you think these contractors are doing this for the good of the people….

  8. Anonymous says:

    is their any other bids? if not, this is more like collusion rather than


  9. JEB says:

    Trust that this will work out and the workers that were laid off that are still on Island will be able to get back to work. It’s very hard when there is only one income

  10. Sole Provider says:

    Excellent job Rolston.

    This is an innovative solution to a complex problem.

    I hope the lesson we learn from this is that in future we need to insist on placing our confidence in and using local contractors from the beginning of any major construction project in these islands.



  11. Anonymous says:

    This type of unity is so good to see.

    It would never have been possible under Kurt Tibbetts and Alden McLaughlin.

    • Anonymous says:

      Business is business and has nothing to do with politics.  It would be a wise business move to come together and form a group to get the schools done, and nothing to do with politics.

      Why does everyone have to bring up politics in every single topic on CNS? 

      Stop the bashing people!!!  Enough negativity – positive posts for once?!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I hope that the "sense of pride & national accountability" will assist in keeping the profit margin in check. This does appear to be a good solution if it is chosen.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The lesson to be learned here is that companies that have been for decades helping to develop the infrastructure of Cayman should be the only ones allowed to bid for contracts for which the people of the Cayman Islands have to bear the cost. I am not sure who Decco is but well known companies like Arch and Godfrey, McAlpine, Hadsphaltic, the Hurlstone brothers, Apec, and others who have proven through the years to have contributed to this society should be allowed to bid on these jobs. In the end – who the hell is Matrix, Tom Jones and the other disastrous contractors who l have cost our people millions? Were they her in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s suffering along with the rest of us trying to survive the 50 billion mosquitoes which were the main setback to life in those times?

    CNS Note: DECCO is Dart Enterprises Construction Company.

    • Forelock says:

      Only two of these four could have bid these projects in their own right. McAlpine and DECCO.

      Whilst reputable, neither Hadsphaltic or Arch & Godfrey has proven themselves able to bring in large projects on time within these last few years. Indeed, Hadsphaltic has had some significant quality control issues these last two or three years (ask Fluor).

      Clearly, McAlpine has its own track record with some blots. DECCO on the other hand would have to rely on its ex-Fluor employees to provide it with a credible track record as a Construction Manager. It has all but completely absorbed most of Hadsphalitic’s leadership personnel too.

      By joining forces, it would appear that the top two of the contractors involved have decided to protect themselves from any political influence in the decision.

      McAlpine is perceived by the public to be closely related to the PPM,. Equally, DECCO is thought to be close to the UDP.

      McAlpine’s, already on the wrong side of the politics, plus they have a lot of eggs in the Government’s basket generally, and probably didn’t want much more exposure unless the reward was worth it.

      If DECCO couldn’t strictly qualify with the rules of the tender in its own right,  PPM would predictably cry "Foul" if they were successful. That could explain DECCO’s interest in a joint venture with its longer established peer.

      To try to control the outcome, those two needed to lock in (or out, depending on one’s point of view), the next best able to threaten their joint pole position, namely Arch & Godfrey and Hadsphaltic. (Sorry Phoenix, you’re not yet in the premiere league.)

      For the four to cloak themselves in patriotism, thus trying to invoke public support for their collective position, is primarily intended to try to prevent any other foreign tenderers that were INVITED to bid by the Ministry from being successful, even if those prices are lower.

      If CCML has the best price, then good for them. Yes they should be awarded the work, but that would be true without the nationalistic pitch being necessary. If they are established then they ought to be cheaper anyway. So why the pitch?

      Let’s not forget the DECCO / GMC mancamp episode either. Not much nationalistic goodwill there. On the contrary, many young men were denied their start in construction whilst that little wheeze was allowed to continue.

      If CCML do not have the best price then the Ministry has to stand its ground. One shouldn’t invite foreign tenders unless one is committed to treating them fairly.

      So if there is indeed a credible, more competitive bid by a qualified offshore contractor then I say bring it on.They will probably do no more harm to the industry than has been done these last two to five years and will make the completion of the schools less expensive for the taxpayers.

  14. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     What a great idea….congrats well done……

  15. Recently Enlightened says:

    Now only if our politicians could follow this example of cooperation and unity.

  16. Joe Average says:

    This is good news.  Could you give some of these hints on how to operate efficiently… to our government?  Be nice about it.  Not like the "bloggers" or it will be seen as a roadblock.