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Cayman Islands Government

Housing to Provide Shelter

Contractors study architectural drawings.

An open house for licensed small contractors organised to explain how they could get involved in government's affordable housing project, received an overwhelming response from the construction industry.

The Ministry of Community Affairs and Housing and the National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) jointly hosted the meeting at Mary Miller Memorial Hall, Red Bay on Thursday, 17 December.

Housing Minister, the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, said the open house served partly to guide licensed small contractors through the prequalification process for providing construction services in the next phase of the NHDT's Affordable Housing Project.

Scheduled to begin January 2010, the plans under this new project phase are to build 12 homes in East End and 20 more in West Bay.

Licensed contractors who wish to be placed on the pre-qualified contractors list must apply to the NHDT by 8 January. Prequalification means that a contractor may participate in the public tender for contracts under the project.

"We felt it timely to begin dialogue with our partners on the critical issue of shelter for our people. We also need to lay the groundwork to forge new partnerships for providing that shelter," Mr. Adam stated.

He noted that government's outreach to small contractors was a signal of its intention to take a fresh approach to awarding contracts locally.

"Instead of awarding a single contract to one large entity to provide construction service as in the past, this time we will include more small players," the Minister said.

Mr. Adam said that this inclusive approach was the ministry's way of supporting some of the small businesses that contribute significantly to the country's economy.

Emphasising the NHDT's requirement for reputable contractors, he added, "Even as we open the doors for small contractors, we are still demanding a high standard of accountability.

"We are, however, confident that many of our small companies are capable of delivering top class work - on time, within budget and with all standards met."

MLA Ellio Solomon, shares the responsibility with Mr. Adam on housing matters, cited the need for the development's economic spinoffs to spread throughout the community.

Mr. Solomon noted that the Premier, the Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP, has said that the development could give a much-needed boost to the economy, as well as housing to those who desperately need it.

He identified four key objectives as providing homes for those who need them; providing work for unemployed Caymanians; engaging small contractors, and ensuring that vendors benefit by supplying raw materials.

NHDT Chairman Stephen McLaughlin said that the NHDT will stress the need to hire Caymanians to contractors and will encourage them to access as much raw material locally as possible.

He underscored the point that relationships, for the purposes of the project, would be between the NHDT and the general contractor. The latter would in turn establish separate relationships with sub-contractors.

However, Mr. McLaughlin also added that the NHDT will consider stipulating that sub-contractors be required to use licensed sub-contractors.

Conditions for Pre-Qualification

Contractors interested in pre-qualifying for the next phase of the NHDT Affordable Housing Development should meet the following standards:

  • Have a history in general construction, particularly demonstrable experience in constructing single family and multi-residence dwellings.
  • Have experienced personnel-including owners, construction manager and/or foreman.
  • Have a valid Trade and Business License.
  • Have a proper mailing address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail.
  • Have and provide suitable bank references (demonstrating a $15,000 line of credit).
  • Have and provide suitable proof of insurance (contractor's all risk, public liability and employer's liability) of at least $250,000 and workmen's compensation.
  • Have employee pension and benefits in place.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes