School rehab works

CONSTRUCTION company, Pacific Building Solutions Ltd (PBS) has revealed it could have completed rehabilitation works on Koro Island schools in a space of 14 months. PBS managing director Michael Fairfax claimed they had also bid for the project but were turned down because the winning contractor came in with a much lesser bid at $9 million. Mr Fairfax said PBS was later given the project at Vanuabalavu and completed the $12m project in 14 months. “In a little of over 14 months, the TC Winston repair and reconstruction project has seen a total of 29 brand new buildings, 45 repaired and installation of water tanks,” he said. “The best experience for us and our team was to see the happy faces of children entering their brand new classrooms. It has been one of the most rewarding projects to have delivered.” Meanwhile, Mr Fairfax added it would be impossible to deliver a quality project on Koro Island with a $9m budget. “For, $F9m, it is impossible to complete the expected 59 new buildings and repair 21 on an outer island location like Koro Island. Our projected costs were closer to $F15m “For $F15m, we would have been able to complete the job in 14 months with a workforce of 140 workers. “Pacific Building Solutions is an extreme builder with extensive experience in executing and delivering a timely and on budget remote island project. “We are proud to have been chosen to deliver the TC Winston reconstruction and repair program for Vanuabalavu by the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade.”

However, assessment to quality education program manager Jemima Stancombe said they were still capable of completing the school on Koro Island within the budget of $9m.According to a detailed report provided by AQEP to this newspaper, there has been very little to no progress at all on works on Koro because of various reasons. Over the past six months work completion rate of the total project has been 85 per cent compared with 80 per cent in February. The High Commissioner John Feakes, who visited the affected schools last month, said he “is acutely aware of and concerned about the slow progress on Koro schools. We are working closely with our contractor, AQEP/Palladium to address these delays, and AQEP/Palladium are working with their contractors to find solutions”. Of the six schools that come under the AQEP funding only Nabasovi District School has been completed and was officially handed over to Government in October of 2017.

In a detailed report provided by AQEP as of August 2018, while there had been slight progress on Koro High School and Nacamaki District School — there has been no progress at the Qalivakabau Primary School, Tuatua/Nasau Primary School and Vunivasa District School since February. “There have been a number of reasons for the delay in completing the construction of the Koro schools.” The subcontractor, she said, had main responsibility for the construction works “and may be able to provide a more detailed response”. The project was scheduled to be completed in June. Four months after its deadline it is still unclear when work will be completed.

Source: PBS/ Fiji Times 12 October, 2018

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