July 15, 2015
While Baha Mar officials have said the project is nearly complete, it has not yet been able to meet the standards necessary for its fire suppression system to pass inspection, and it still has a great deal of electrical work to complete, according to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works Colin Higgs.
Higgs said Baha Mar has to make sure fire alarms and proper communications systems are in place, and ensure that all elevators are up to standard. He said inspectors from the Ministry of Works have completed “volumes and volumes” of work on the project.
Higgs explained that while there have been passes, Baha Mar has also failed certain inspections. The areas in question have to be addressed in order for the project to get an occupancy certificate, which would allow Baha Mar to open. He said the project’s steel work and structural work are sound and the main areas that need to be addressed are the fire suppression system and the electrical work.
“They still have work to do, but everything is pretty close to completion,” said Higgs, referring to the overall soundness of the structures at Baha Mar.
Other areas that need addressing, he said, are ground lighting, the incomplete parking garage and interior stores, which require separate inspections.
Higgs said a pipe burst in one of the restaurants at Baha Mar when pressure was applied.
“It’s an ongoing exercise and it is just a matter of them getting it right,” he said.
“It’s a major resort. You anticipate some problems. They were very ambitious to think they can get the building finished and occupied in such a short period. But the building is substantially complete.”
Baha Mar’s attorney Roy Sweeting said in court two weeks ago that the project is 98 percent finished.
On June 29, Baha Mar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court.
It later filed a lawsuit in England against its contractor, China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CCA), seeking more than $192 million in damages to compensate for delays and reported substandard work.
Additionally, it wants damages reflecting the cost of remediation work flowing from the breaches of contract, currently estimated to be approximately US$30 million, and damages which resulted in the late completion of the Convention Centre, currently estimated to be approximately US$4 million.
But CCA said in a statement last week that Baha Mar’s decision to file for bankruptcy protection in Delaware is the direct result of its failure to secure adequate financing and its mismanagement of the design of the resort project at Cable Beach.
This mismanagement includes replacing the principal architect after construction had commenced, the late and incomplete delivery of design packages and over 1,300 construction change directives, it said. Many questions have been raised about the inspection of the project in the wake of the debacle that erupted with the bankruptcy filing.
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said last week he is satisfied that the Ministry of Works’ on-site inspectors did their jobs. Davis suggested that the fault is not the government’s, as it isn’t the role of government inspectors to inspect the quality of workmanship or manage the pace of construction.
When asked about the Ministry of Works’ role, Davis said, “We are called in to inspect to ensure that the necessary code requirements are in place for the purpose of safety.”
Higgs told The Nassau Guardian that if certain corrective action is taken, Baha Mar should be able to satisfy all requirements necessary to get an occupancy certificate before the end of the year.
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