Construction work on the new $63 million headquarters of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is running ahead of schedule, with the plant expected to open for business next April.
Project manager Stephen Lindo told a news briefing following a tour of the site with Minister of Water Resources Management Dr David Estwick this morning, the facility was 50 per cent completed and work ahead of schedule to finish by January for moving in, three months later.
Lindo said while construction cost was $44.7 million, other “soft” costs, such as legal fees and interest payments during the building period, would result in an overall cost of $63 million.
“The main features of the facility, will be, first of all, energy saving facilities . . . . We will have all of our external lighting off of solar energy and we are hoping as well to be able to use solar energy to run some of our equipment within the building.
But basically, the energy saving devices, we are looking at,” he revealed.
“We are also having a sports facility for our staff members; we are having a gym, so that our staff members would remain fit and active as they go out to work on a daily basis.
“We are also going to be having an area for children to be kept after hours, if staff members have to work after hours, late in the evening, or early on mornings, they can bring their children in and they can be kept,” he added.
“We are having an organised caterer for this activity,” Lindo stated.
Among the areas which the touring party visited today were the main administrative building where the customer service section is located and the finance and human resources departments.
“We are going to have a registry, a library, the board room . . . that’s in Building “A”; then Building “B” would be our general storage area, which is going to be about 9,000 square feet; and Building “C” is going to be a cafetaria, a training room. Building “D” is going to be a gym; Building “E”, I think that’s going to be our lockers…for our workmen; we are going to have an area as well for dispatch office, then there is going to be the area where we are going to have our service activities for vehicles and things like that,” noted the BWA project manager.
He said, too, that all of the main operations of the Authority, which are presently scattered around the island, will be brought under one roof. However, Lindon made it clear, some elements of the BWA will not function from the new buildings.
“We are still going to be having a paid depot in Bridgetown where the customers can go to the Cole’s Building, which will soon be opened and pay their bills…obviously the BWA has activities outside of administration; our operational activities will continue at Bowmanstan and Golden Ridge; but generally speaking, those facilities at Manor Lodge will be moving here; Spring Garden will be moving here and West coast will be moving here,” explained the BWA executive official.
Meanwhile, Estwick said he was “extremely” impressed with the speed at which the headquarters was being constructed. He identified the main benefits of the new offices as efficiency gains and savings [close to $3 million annually] in rent.
“Having the entire various departments under one roof, not only would you get major savings on the rental side, but the savings are more in relation to efficiency gains, sharing of common services, relationship building and to be able to manage the institution in a more efficient way within a single space and share ICT platforms,” Estwick said.
“When you think in terms of the overall gains to the institution to be able to manage its affairs nationally, based in this mandate by constitution, I am indeed not only extremely pleased, but I am indeed amazed at the speed with which the project has proceded,” he added.
The project is being 95 per cent funded by Ansa Merchant Bank in Trinidad with five per cent equity from Innotech Services – the main contractors.