Construction on the Heritage Wharf  project. *File photo
Construction on the Heritage Wharf project. *File photo

The Minister of Public Works, the Hon. Trevor Moniz, JP, MP, has advised that last week had seen some ups and downs with progress leading to all piles now driven to depth or refusal on the southern breasting dolphin and placement of the concrete fill to the bottoms of the piles is in progress.  The northern breasting dolphin has been catching up and all piles will have been driven to depth or refusal in the next few days. 

“Generally progress has been good, we could have gained a little more time had the weather not been cruel to us on Wednesday gusting 30 knots and heavy rain meant that we could neither pile or weld for the full day and ancillary jobs for bad weather days are all but used up,” Minister Moniz said. He added: “However the site team recognizes the importance of every hour and it was gratifying to find welders working to catch up when site started on Thursday, they had mobilized at 430am to get a jump on the day and so we were able to start driving early in the morning session.”

The Minister said all of the workers on the project are pushing to the finish line aware that hours gained at this point are of more value as the time for arrival of the Norwegian Breakaway gets closer.  Lead contractor Sunrise Construction have been working long hours in the South Basin prefabricating parts to save time later and planning the most effective way to install the concrete forms. 

“Crisson Construction have been working tirelessly with our piling subcontractor Norwalk Marine to keep the piling operation moving forward, wherever possible welding late into the night or early in the morning,” Minister Moniz said.  “The quality of the welding by both the local employees of Crisson Construction and our colleagues from Norwalk Marine has been excellent, 100 percent of the welds are being tested and only one pile has required remedial work that has cost time.  These welders have had to combat rain, wind and night work as well as welding a pipe that has been hit a few hundred times with a 17,700lb hammer.  Needless to say a lot of the work is in the preparation of the weld.” Minister Moniz added.

Onsite Engineering have been giving valuable support in site management and planning the construction processes and we have been teaming up local engineers with our design engineering representative from Mott Mac Donald. 

The Minister noted that Mott Mac Donald’s presence has been invaluable, their representative Richard Tellett who was originally part of the structural design team is able to help us to make quick informed decisions which save time and money on a daily basis.  “His interaction with our local engineers is achieving some of our goals on knowledge transfer and the relationship on site between our engineers is a strong one which is essential to a successful project,” Minister Moniz said.

Public Works engineers and technologists have been maintaining a constant presence on site, running shifts throughout the day and night to continually monitor progress and quality control and to instruct immediately when changes are required to drive the project forward.  “Aside from this we are working on other fronts to ensure that our planning obligations are met and the project is completed correctly not just in terms of construction but also with due respect to the legislation and procedures,” the Minister said.

The pile test is now complete and the results are being processed.  Passenger management plans are progressing well and signs and materials are on order so that we can have these systems in place for the arrival of the Norwegian Breakaway also.  Long term environmental monitoring programs are being developed with our Government colleagues in the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation Services.  “In addition we are looking to satisfy the requirements of the original planning application in providing landscaping to the Ground Transportation Area to make it more welcoming to our visitors and we hope provide a more shaded and comfortable environment for transfer on to their daily destinations.”

“Finally I would like to add a note in response to the ratio of local and overseas workers on the site to clarify this situation that is clearly a matter of public interest.  I hope that the people will understand that there is no intent to cover up anything, it is simply the fact that exact numbers vary not only on a daily basis but on an hourly basis,” Minister Moniz said.  “If we were to take a head count on one day then it would not be correct at another time, this would leave the Ministry open to further questioning and right now we simply need to work together to complete these essential works.”

“When this question first arose at the start of the project the Ministry of Public Works did not compile the numbers presented.  We simply were not responsible for the pricing or staffing of the works, we required a maximizing of Bermudian input and this was considered in the review of the contractor’s submission,” the Minister said.  Sunrise Construction priced and scheduled the works, they reported that these numbers as they stood were 75% Bermudian, this was estimated from the hours submitted for the duration of the works at the time at the inception of the project.

“We would expect as we move forward and the piling operations to hand over to the concreting works, the proportion of Bermudians will increase.  I have not analyzed the number of Bermudian against overseas resource hours to date, we are working between 10 and 20 hours per day and are fully occupied with the job in hand.  To present these figures now would in any case not show the true picture which will only be available when the job is done.  What we can say is that we will always strive to provide employment locally to do otherwise would make no sense whatever.”

The Minister stressed there are no hidden numbers either cost or resource hours in this contract, it is what we refer to as open book and a full audit at the end of the job is the only way to show a true picture of the proportions.  “The numbers will be as new to us as they would to you the public but they will simply be what were needed to complete the project on time.  I can absolutely assure you that the team on the site all of whom are working diligently in Bermuda’s best interest have no fear of what may be revealed. All in all we have had a good week, concrete is being poured and with luck we are looking forward to a successful completion of the breasting dolphins on time.”