GOAB hits roof trouble

| 03/06/2011

(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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  1. Anonymous says:

    Please be advised the roofing system as installed is a major problem for many years to come if not completly torn off back to the deck. We all must be aware that where there is moisture there must be some content of mold. I know this roof is a modified roofing system but isnt much more than a higher grade of peel and stick product not feasible to be used in the Caribbean . I also would ask the question by whom is the quality control for the project being done by on CI Governments behalf. The building is now a very serious liability to whomever performs the re-roof of this building. The CI Government should stipulate adequate contractors lliability insurance be put in place prior to moving ahead with the repair. I understand who built this project but the liability gets higher as more entities move in this building from Government. I dont get it though say what you will where are the daily reports and sign-off sheets for the daily physicial inspections. I  would expect these are available but it appears these forms were filled out in the comfort of an air conditioned room and not on a roof . I would also like to know if the manufacturer of the product has accepted they have a failure with big implications. Where are the manufacturers signed off inspection reports done by their technical reps in the field? The inspector must have been out to lunch the whole job. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    In response to YUTE on Fri.06/03/2011 @ 18:19……………………………..Y. U .T. E(You Uneducated Truth Eraser)……..your ignorance is blinding and your lack of  truth is nearly convincing.Truth Eraser you need to stop fooling yourself,and you also need to stop misleading other disorientated PPM supporters with your ignorance and lies.Why didn't you comment on the $89,000,000 debt that the PPM left for the current government? also, WHERE IS THE $69,000,000 THAT IS UNACCOUNTED FOR UNDER CHARLES CLIFFORD AND THE REST OF THE PEOPLE'S PROGRESSIVE MISHAP? …… "Whatever the PPM did was for the people and not in self intrest or self gain"  yea right…..Truth Eraser it's quite obvious that you are fooled by the PPM,your ignorant comments exposes your gullibillity.The UDP came into office at the worst time in Cayman's mordern History,times are tough,Cayman and the rest of the world is presently facing an economic downturn,are you telling me and other well thinking Caymanians that if the PPM were in power things would have been better for us all? Y.U.T.E don't make me roll over on the floor with laughter,please.The PPM created a serious economic and social hole for these islands due to their four years of incompetent governance,well thinking people of Cayman can you imagine what our sweet country would be like now if the PPM were in the drivers seat? It's inevitable that things will turn around and the economies of Cayman and other countries around the world will improve,projects that the UDP had in planning will be completed (projects that some of you abhorrent people are fighting against) and unemployment will go down putting Caymanians back to work……"everything the UDP put their hands on turn to disaster and everyone knows this and say so"………Y.U.T.E. didn't you read or ask someone to read for you the letters that thinkers and former politicians  Mr Truman Bodden and Mr John Mclean wrote about PPM's poor governance and  four years of  disaster,please revisit the CAYMANIAN COMPASS or NET NEWS and read(if you can)these letters and you will see that not everybody thinks that everything the UDP put their hands on turns to  disaster.Truth Eraser you also went on to say that you have never heard of so much pain and suffering caused by the UDP,once again are you saying that there were no pain and suffrering under PPM's term,sorry to say  but PPM did absolutely nothing for poor people,the UDP is spending millions on struggling people(8,000 as a matter of fact),millions that could have been spent on important projects but due to the PPM's bad governance poor people is suffering today and all the blame is on the United Democratic Party.You say that the UDP is done and that their days are numbered,but glory be to God that it's Premier McKeeva Bush the UDP in control(as bad as things are)and not Alden McChavezlin and the POOR PEOPLE MISTAKE…………no bad feelings my YUTE,just seek the truth and gain some knowledge!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon Sat. 06/04/2011 – 18:17 (or should I just call u by your name MacChavez Bushladen?), I do believe that it is you that should open your eyes because if you are trying to tell us, the Cayman people, that you are more happy & satisfied with the UDP's performance since 2009 than between 2005 – 2009 with the PPM then there is nothing more to say (you are deaf). I did not read anywhere in YUTE's comment where he or she claimed that there was no pain & suffering under the PPM, but he/she correctly claimed that there has never been as much pain, suffering & complaining as there is now under this bunch of self-interest & greedy UDP wimps. There has been a lot pain, suffering & complaints by the Cayman people since 1992, but NEVER has it been as bad (awful) as it is now under MacChavez Bushladen & his wimpy cohorts, NEVER! For you to defend or support this government is unbelievable, & that is why I say that instead of wasting your time making stupid postings here you should get back to work doing what the people thought they were electing you to do & that is work (not travel all over the world at our expense or posting stupidness on CNS), not true MacChavez Bushladen?    

      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous @ 11:48 can you please comment on the $89,000,000 debt that the PPM left the UDP with and can you please tell us where the $69,000,000 that went missing under Charles Clifford and the PPM is………..you seem to be a fairly intelligent and articulate person,we are kindly waiting for your reply,thanks a million.

        • Anonymous says:

          Can you answer why the UDP refuse to conduct the audit of the accounts between 2008 and 2009. When that is completed we will see the true picture of what the countries finaces were. It is the UDP obligation under the law to audit the accounts, however they have flatly refused to do so. We all know that if the audit is conducted this so called $89,000,000 deficit would be alot smaller and this $69,000,000 missing money would be all accounted for. If Mac really believed the figures he would have made sure that the audit was done so that he could prove 100% that the PPM had mishandled the countries money. Please ask the UDP to uphold the law and have the accounts audited. Do you realize that they are breaking the law by not conducting the audit. Why would the UDP break the law on this? They dont want the truth to be known

        • Anonymous says:

          Why don't you ask your premier who refused to audit those same accounts.

  3. Joe B says:

    After everything that has ever been done by Government of the past  has proven their inability to do anything up to a first world standard why is there still surprise when the losing streak merey continues?  Its like watching a slow motion train wreck with people still trying to get on.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To Thursday 20:36 "Typical Cayman construction" – Your attempt to criticize Cayman/Caymanians fails. Few Caymanians can still be found in most industries, particularly construction. I could bet my annual salary that very few Caymanians were involved in any phase of the construction of that building.

    So eat some crow and admit that a lot of standards in this country (yes we are a country, as opposed to being a state) have deteriorated since the influx of foreigners like you. Note – I said "like you" meaning ungrateful, xenophobic detractors – not the many who have helped this country. Evidently and sadly, they seem to have been in the minority.

    • noname says:

      Actually the attempt only fails for those not intimate with the Cayman Construction field.  As usual you talk like you know what and who is invloved but just give an opinion as fact.  Evidently and sadly, you are in the majority.  My opinion as a person who has been involved is that if left to a Caymanian educated person the Quality control will suffer.  You have only to look at ANY Government controlled project to see this.  You might be right but a statement that the standards of your country have deteriorated since the influx of foreigners (from whos countries don't deem to have the deteriorated standards) only show an ungrateful, and disrespectfull attitude to those who have brought a higher standard of expectation to your island (country).  You show a great loyalty to Grand Cayman but little to no respect for any other.  As you are a country that can not survive by itself you might want to cut a little slack.  Just my opinion.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The roof nah leak. The jacuzzi / hot tub that Mac had installed in his office is the only thing aleaking in the building. It cracked due to overuse, if he wasn't travelling so much, it would be apouring.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The roof is not leaking. McKeeva got excited in his secret "splash pool" after hearing that the latest projections on the deficit calls for $7.5M instead of $8M. He immediately took the $0.5M and departed on another overseas trip.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think its a technical Issue and not a Party Issue.  Blame the consultants or advisors on this.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It is quite clear that the "Savings" numbers quote in this story will not occur. It shouldno longer be quoted as a reason for building this building unless proceeded by "it was thought at the time of construction…"


    1. Not all government personnel will fit in building. We still have to lease other buildings to house the other 1800 people. Only 1,100 out of 3,900 will fit here.

    2. Not all leases have ended yet- some go on for years more with Government continuing to pay what will be now double rent.

    3. The building design forces a tremendous level of wasted manpower moving people up and down to the ministries. Uses up civil service time.

    4. The level of security in this building already is exceeding $1.25M per year.

    5. We had to borrow the $85M with interest to build it. That likely will cost us all of the "rent savings" to service the loan.

    6. A major portion of this building was custom fitted for CIMA at additional expense (vaults, security etc). Now totally lost value.

    On the other side of the coin, the building is more secure, more hurricane resistant and works but it will not provide a "net savings" to government and certainly the $10M quoted in this story is clearly pure fiction at this point.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Flood tested what an insane idea government project manager needs to join the consultant????

    • Proud to be Caymanian 6 Gen.. says:

      don't matter,

        UDP >> what do > HE < say, it wasnt me,

      if they had listened to me all would be right, i told them so.

      if something is wrong it's others,   FAULT,

      UK, PPM, NGO,   ETC, ETC. i"m all things good you know.

  10. Are you all blind? says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that for all this trouble, we could at least have made the building attractive?  Nothing about it suggests 'government', there are no ceremonial areas, no flags.  They are supposedly going to turn the Glass House site into a park – why didn't they make a 'front' on the west side of this building so that we can have a proper place for national events?  Or is the idea to move the courthouse and enlarge Heroes Square, which does not align with the LA?  No one THINKS about anything, that is the problem with this country.

    Also government buildings are supposed to have SPACE around them to communicate their importance, this building looks as if it has been literally stuffed inside itself.  An ugly fortress for the dyingcivil service gravy train and our ill-equipped leaders.

    What's more, all this money and we still have not even seen the inside of it!  I want to see what fat chair McKeeva is sitting in.  No way he will let that happen because everybody will moan about the expense (even though the building pays for itself in 10 years if I recall – no excuse for being ugly).

    I recommend that the Glass House be open for tours once everyone moves out.  This would raise money and offer people a window into the recent history of this country.  I want to see where the first ExCo met.  If walls could talk – well, they can't, but before we destroy them, I'd like a look inside. 

    It gives "an impression of uneasily constricted bulk… On the whole, the building is a striking reminder that good taste was not a universal attribute [in that century]" – originally said by Sir John Summerson about Mansion House, London, but will surely be said about this big block of a thing in 300 years time.  If we haven't demolished it to build a solid, slate-grey concrete rectangle that has CIG carved into the roof…

    God, it looks like a school with those shutter things on the top windows, no doubt to keep the sun off of McKeeva's leather chair…I can't look anymore, this is such a tacky thing we might as well sell it to Walkers.  They can paint it white and get on with it.  To me this building is all the evidence you need of the malaise this country is in.  No inspiration, no direction, no thought.  Pathetic.  Let it flood…

    I've said this before here (though with much less vitriol – it continues to upset me, you see) and got quite a lot of thumbs down, so I'm repeating it again in the hope that someone will actually come back at me with why I shouldn't cringe when I see what a wasted opportunity this building was.  Can someone who disagrees with me explain what makes the building attractive or appropriate or Caymanian?

    • Are you all blind? says:

      Apparently not.  What a shame.  And still more thumbs down than thumbs up.  At least I know that there are others like me who think this building is nothing special.

    • A Guilty Pleasure says:

      The new "Glass House" government building is the most attractive & beautiful office building in Cayman. I am proud to say that that building is "our" government building, & I get a great amount of pleasure whenever I drive by there. Of course I know there will always be the jealous negative few who have nothing good to say about anything unless it is done by them, but who cares, we all know that it is beautiful, & best of all, it will save our government millions (& in time billions) because of not having to pay rent for the rest of time! All in all: MAGNIFICENT! (ps: please ignore the jealous childish two or three).

  11. no name says:

    well they are trying to be green and save money…..perhaps they could catch the rain water that is coming in, give it to the staff to drink and save on the purchase of bottled water…..


  12. Mud-Foot says:

    It's the PPM's fault…no, it's the UDP's fault… no, it's the…. aaah who cares it's Friiidaaay!

  13. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva why did you drill those holes in Kurt's roof ?? Ahhh…..low blow. Find some chewing gum quickly and plug them…..more rain coming and more bad weather at the hands of the UDP. Brace for it Cayman !

    • cow itch says:

      Mac:  "I wasn't drilling… I just went on top to inspect it"

      • Anonymous says:

        And I didn't even make the trip via the North Pole at Government's expense…

    • Anonymous says:

      Come on now, say what you like about poor ol Mac, he really is above that. It is much more likely he had Clive or Elio do it FOR him.

  14. Anonymous says:

    So can we expect another announcement that the Chinese are going to do a mega-project extending the roof to incorporate a shopping plaza in the middle of North Sound?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Someone should find out who directed the Contractor who first proposed a pitched roof to take it out.

    • cow itch says:

      you see, what happened, tibbitts told him to build the roof cayman style, and he was thinking silver thatch – a simple contractual misunderstanding

      • Anonymous says:

        I understand a Caymanian roofer did consult with Mr. T on changing the flat roof  to a rake roof. you would'nt  have this problem today.

        Sometimes it's best to listen to the old boys, they been around Cayman for a long time.

        It's going to cost a lot of money to repair a 35,000 sq.ft. flat roof, it's not just the membrane. there are tons of  tapered Insulation under the membrane.

        There are several flaws that could cause the leaks, the laps and joints of the membrane not properly sealed, this would definitely let in water. 

        Insufficient roof drains, undersize roof drains, water takes forever to run off the roof, which would then cause water to penetrate t any weak spots.

        I wish you bloggers would leave the two Governments out of this. The job   was given to McAlpine, as a design/built contract. They are the ones responsible.

        • Anonymous says:

          XXXXX ,the fact is McAlpine did a wonderful job on this building and every building they do ,oh and just for the record the roof DOES NOT LEAK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    At what stage of construction was the roof completed and why is it only now being reported as leaking.  With all the rains we've had between the roof going on and the completion of the interior, surely someone working on the interior finish would have been bright enough to have noticed a leak and report it.  Or is this just another example of the "not my problem" attitude which appears to be of epidemic proportions in the CI?

    • Loveing the comments says:

      The rains obviously deteriorated the weaker joints and eventually the water came through. This is no different from any other house or building roof.
      The staff were lucky to discover the leaks so early in their occupation of the building. Sometime this kind of leak is not discovered until lots of damage has been done.



  17. Anonymous says:

    Anyone know when  the Walkers building on Elgin Ave is going to be occupied?

    • Doomed says:

      Apparently the Chinese are taking it over for accommodation when they fix the roof at Disneyworld.

  18. Anonymous says:

    It comes from a reliable source that the roof is not currently leaking, but after completed it did leak but not because McAlpine did a bad job building it. It leaked due to the Governments Project Manager "Forcing" McAlpine to flood test a "water shedding roof". The governments Project Manager hired a consultant to review and was told that it should have "Never" been flood tested that roofs are not ment to be swimming pools. The consultant was fired and a new one hired.

    Rest assured as always McAlpine will make sure that the issues that remain will be taken care of in a proffesional manner.

    Great job McAlpine it is a beautiful building that will be standing "Dry" for years to come!

    • anonymous says:

      I can back this up if other commenters don't want to believe.  The Project Manager for the Government, made ridiculous demands for all systems of this building  throughout construction.

      The roof on this building was also not recommended by McAlpine, in lieu, they recommended a pitched roof with standing seam roof.  A much more proven system in hurricane areas.  That idea was turned down due to increased upfront cost.  The system that was installed is, in my opinion, a weaker roof.  It is made up of many parts, and countless seams.  If you are to have something water proof, avoid seams.

      The Government got what they requested and now, it leaks.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fri 19:10: Methinks you have some sort of "beef" with the project manager, who, it has to be admitted, is nobody's pushover. He did however bring in this massive project on time and within budget – a tremendous feat rarely accomplished anywhere, especially in the Cayman Islands. Perhaps he should be given the schools' projects to try to sort out.

    • Anonymous says:

      So THAT'S why our utility bills are becoming more and more impossible to face every month. First we hire the most experienced construction company in existence to build a building for us. Then we hire a Project Manager to make sure they are doing the job right. Then (as usual) we hire a 'consultant' to tell us that the project manager is an idiot. THEN we end up with a f**king leaking roof! It seems the more we spend the better it gets. Not sure whether it is the project manager or the consultant that is related to or buddies with you know who but I assure you they are both going home with their pockets full. And poor McAlpine is left having to dig in to THEIR profits to fix the 'problem'! GOD I wish we had allowed the PPM to complete their building themselves…without any interference from the UDP…then maybe we could still afford to pay our utility bills each month. AND we would have a GOAB without a leaking roof… 

  19. Mr Tourist says:

    Nice building I like it. So what a few remeadials . The roof has a concrete 8" slab anyway. Job well done by all involved.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Who passed the building and issued Certificate of Occupancy???

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac didn't want the certificate wet so they signed it before the rains came.

    • Anonymous says:

      A  CO doesn't guarantee no leaks!  The building is wonderful.  The project management team did a great job and will continue to do so until the problem is fixed.

  21. O says:

    Well PPM can brag all they want about this building they say is a monument to their work.  Guess what?  IT LEAKS!

    • Anonymous says:

      The building was completed during the UDP administration, so guess they are to blame

    • Anonymous says:

      It's leaking because it was finished by the UDP, silly.

      • anonymous says:

        "it's leaking because it was finished by the UDP,silly" …………and if the UDP had decided not to continue with it you all would cause a big uproar,everything PPM put their hands on turn to disaster,if Alden McChavezlin ever becomes premier we can all say good bye sweet Cayman.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thanks for completing the building , UDP. If it weren't for you it would be leaking even more. Thank goodness we finally talked you into not selling it too, otherwise it would be leaking even MORE. Who the hell is Alden McChavezlin? I sure hope he's not Chinese. We've been saying good bye sweet Cayman for two years now. Where've you been…China?   

        • BORN FREE says:

          Alden will not have the opportunity to become Premier because the dictator we now have, MacChavez Bushladen, has done such a great job in destroying our sweet Cayman & selling it out to his rich cronies. We are already in the process of saying "goodbye sweet Cayman" thanks to the find work (lol) of the UDP! If they are not stopped ASAP then we will all definitely be kissing our sweet Cayman goodbye forever. Get rid of the UDP now before all is lost!

        • YUTE says:

          I think it is because of what the UDP is doing that is making us say good bye to sweet Cayman. Whatever the PPM did was for the people & not in self interestor self gain. In fact, (& it is FACT), "everything the UDP put their hands on turns to disaster" & EVERYONE knows this & says so, EVERYONE (except you & Mac's cronies). I have never heard of such pain & suffering as the UDP is causing for the people, & EVERYONE is complaining. The UDP done! The UDP's days are numbered, GOODBYE to the UDP, thank GOD!  

          • lawrence says:

            "Whatever the PPM did was for the people & not in self interest or self gain."

            LOL… you are so naive!  This is the same lot that refused to cut their own salaries 10-20% when the Premier motioned it in the Legislative Assembly. But left cutting the Civil Service's salary 3.2 across the board!

            Please… I know UDP is bad, but PPM for the "people's interest"???  You got to be kidding me!    

  22. Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting that first this could happen. The contractor should take all the risk on this one.  But how much is being spent on the new fifth floor bathroom?

    • Anonymous says:

      The urinal is plated with 22 ct gold.

      • cow itch says:

        still broke and looking for a job in plumbing and repairs. if you see any ad on their website, remember me, cow itch

      • Anonymous says:

        Don't laugh. I am surprized we have not seen the headline. "Premier Demands new bathroom!"

        • Anonymous says:

          And you had to leak that out already, you guys can't be trusted, it is so typical of you…blabber mouth, no scruples, no diplomacy, ni ethics,  no wonder no one wants to hire you.

          and I'll bet my bottom dollar, it isn't going to be gold plated,….scandulous and propaganda, you do it all the time…shame on you.

      • Anonymous says:

        You probably would'n t know what gold looks like if it jumps up and bite you in the ass, stop the scandal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are you so stupid? I don't know of any polititions, let it be PPM or UDP ever working on that building as a roofer.

      shut up if you don't have some intellegent remark to make, you taking  this political thing, and making  a big fool of your selves.

  23. Anonymous says:

    You've got to be kidding me!

  24. Swine says:

    Wow, just like everything else that has to do with government, what a perfect match, faulty from the top down…..

    • Anonymous says:

      It does suit the UDP to a T. We need to get the matter addressed before the PPM gets back in though. It's THEIR building after all.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Typical Cayman construction…no surprise here!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Oh my, no man, you gah be kidding me, man da cant be true man.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Under-floor airconditioning vents with carpet  lets hope the carpet is really kept clean.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again another claim for mold and the majority of Government administration in one place. Whoever thought of this needs their head examined.

  29. Anonymous says:

    So from one mold filled building to another.

    • Anonymous says:

      But the mold is new and probably 24ct gold plated!!

    • anonymous says:

      1. All buildings have mould (or mold).

      2. Mould only gets to be a problem and multiplies in environments where the humidity gets beyond 50%.

      The new air-conditioning can more than keep the humidity level below that level. Nothing to get excited about.

    • Sybill Suirvant says:

      I know people don't think much of civil servants at the moment, but calling us mold is a bit harsh.