STATEMENT BY MINISTER FOR TRANSPORTATION, WORK AND UTILITIES
HONOURABLE KYE M. RYMER
AT THE EIGHTH SITTING OF THE THIRD SESSION OF
THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
ON PROGRESS OF MINISTRY’S PROJECTS
THURSDAY 29TH APRIL 2021
Mister Speaker, I rise to give an update on the progress of works for the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex. Mister Speaker, in a previous update, I noted that the Ministry of Transportation, Works, and Utilities had developed a comprehensive approach to the renovation of the Administration Complex. In brief, it is a four-pronged approach as follows:
- Demolition and removal of existing building components
- Ensuring the Complex is watertight and resilient against high winds and undertake repairs to the building cladding
- Design and installation of new mechanical, electrical, plumbing and ICT systems
- Interior outfitting and configuration
I also stated that we are currently awaiting the relocation of the remaining departments at the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex before completing the full demolition of the internal offices and spaces.
Mister Speaker, notwithstanding the delays, incurred we are steadily progressing ahead with the renovation works. At present, DesignBVI Limited, the company responsible for removing the existing damaged glass windows and doors and installing new impact-resistant glass windows and doors, has continued to make steady progress. Members of the public may have observed the ongoing works to remove the damaged pinkish foam board that served as a band around the first floor of the Administration Complex and to plaster the entire concrete segment throughout. Members of the public may also observe the removal of the damaged false walls to certain sections of the Administration Complex. These works are necessary to ensure the Administration Complex is prepared to receive the new glass windows and doors.
Mister Speaker, in the coming weeks, the contractor will commence the construction of concrete curbs on which the glass wall systems will be affixed. What we have found is that the previous glass windows and doors were directly affixed to the concrete slab, which allowed water to settle against the glass frames and eventually infiltrate the interior space, particularly during windy rain events. In an effort to mitigate against this problem, concrete curbs of approximately 6 inches in height will be constructed on which the frames of the new glass windows and doors will be secured. Mister Speaker, the concrete curb will have a tapered slope to allow for the water to drain away from the building and glass frames and this concrete curb and tapered slope will be constructed in one monolithic pour.
Mister Speaker, I have also been assured by my project team that not only will we be using a concrete curb to protect the Complex against water infiltration, but there would be multiple applications at various stages of the curb construction and frame installation whereby a liquid waterproofing membrane will be applied and then the STO stucco material will be applied to provide a finish product with additional waterproofing.
Mister Speaker, as I stated previously in this Honourable House, it is imperative that we mitigate and solve all areas of water infiltration to avoid the issue of mold and poor air quality after the renovation works are completed.
Therefore, I must commend the contractor – DesignBVI, OBM Limited and my project team for developing a design that does not reinstate what was there originally, but recognising the previous problems, developing a system that will ensure that the issues of water infiltration are comprehensively addressed. Notwithstanding that we have not seen major works at the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex, there has been substantial works taking place behind the scenes to ensure a comprehensive renovation of the Administration Complex.
Mister Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to remind contractors to register with the Ministry of Finance so that the Government of the Virgin Islands can assess and document the contractors and their capabilities. I was intentional in my reminder because there is a large amount of work that is required at the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex through which numerous contractors can participate.
Mister Speaker, the upcoming works over the next three months at the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex includes the demolition of over 20 office spaces and rooms through which local contractors can participate. A tender document will shortly be advertised for the removal and disposal of the 18 Air Handling Units at the Administration Complex, which have well exceeded their useful life. We will be seeking contractors to undertake rust treatment and repair to the existing structural steel beams and columns in the various office spaces, which have been exposed to persistent water leakage over the years.
Mister Speaker, within a few weeks a tender document for the construction of a new elevator housing on the West Atrium will be made available. Within the next month a tender document for the refinishing, repair and recladding of the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex exterior finishes will be advertised. Finally, a tender document should be advertised shortly for the reinsurance of the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex.
Mister Speaker, as I have indicated there is a lot of work to be done and I once again implore contractors and heavy equipment operators to register with the Ministry of Finance and ready their documents so that they can actively participate in these various tenders on offer. I want to assure this Honourable House and members of the public that the renovation of the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex is of utmost importance to my ministry and the entire Government of the Virgin Islands and we are making great strides to ensure that we incorporate our local contractors while ensuring a high quality standard.
Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Headquarters:
Mister Speaker, I now turn our attention to the renovation works of the Ground Floor of the Road Town Fire Headquarters. After the devastation of the hurricanes in 2017, works were undertaken to renovate the Road Town Fire Headquarters. The second floor, which houses the administrative personnel of the Fire Headquarters was completed in 2019.
Mister Speaker, following an open tender process, which commenced in 2020; Metro Construction Ltd. was awarded the contract to undertake the renovation works to the Ground Floor of the Road Town Fire Headquarters. The contract in the amount of $332,206.73 was signed on 2nd March, 2021 and works commenced on site on the 22nd March, 2021.
Mister Speaker, the scope of works for the project are as follows; Demolition of existing floor and wall tiles, windows, doors, electrical and plumbing fixtures. Installation of new floor and wall tiles and finished floors, interior painting, installation of windows and doors, installation of new electrical outlets and switches, installation of new electrical light fixtures, installation of new plumbing fixtures such as toilets, urinals and showers, fabrication and installation of vanities and cabinetry. Complete renovation of the Watch/Command Room, installation of Air Conditioning to various spaces on the ground floor level. To date the majority of the demolition works have been completed and the installation of windows has commenced.
Mister Speaker, the Ground Floor of the Road Town Fire Headquarters is critical to the overall function and operation of the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services.
First and most important it houses the Fire Officers in the barracks that serve our community. It is our intention to completely renovate the male and female barracks to ensure these officers have a comfortable working environment in which to work.
Secondly, the ground floor holds all the equipment, apparatuses and material that support our Fire Officers and we want to renovate these spaces to ensure the storage of these critical equipment and apparatuses are in a suitable environment.
Third, the ground floor also has the Watch Room or Command Room which is where emergency calls are received from members of the community. It goes without saying that this room is vitally important to the ability of the Fire and Rescue Services to respond to emergency and we will comprehensively renovate this space to include a new air conditioning system, new electrical wiring and fixtures, new cabinetry and countertops, and new wall, ceiling and floor finishes. The contractor has indicated that he is currently on schedule, and we anticipate that the works will be completed by July 2021.
Mister Speaker, in 2020 we have also undertaken repairs to the various fire stations at Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada. These repairs include replacing windows and doors, painting, electrical and plumbing repairs, and finishing works. My ministry is currently sourcing quotations for the procurement and installation of the roller shutter doors for the various fire stations, including Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda. We are very mindful of the fire stations throughout the Territory and the role that they serve in protecting our residents and visitors, and my ministry will continue to ensure that continuous upgrades are undertaken to bring all these fire stations up to and maintained at an international standard.
Mister Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to bring an update on the progress of works at the Road Town Fire Headquarters and the territorial fire stations.