Despite assurances that the refurbishment of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature precinct is at an advanced stage, those closely linked to the project have indicated that there has been no progress on site for over a year.
DESPITE assurances that the refurbishment of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature precinct is at an advanced stage, those closely linked to the project have indicated that there has been no progress on site for over a year.
It was pointed out that the unending delays could not be indefinitely tolerated, as the deadline to complete the work was “yesterday”.
“The flooding of the basement with underground water has still not been remedied. Only minor work, including some minor paintwork, has been done.”
Sources pointed out that if the work was in fact 72 percent complete, as claimed by the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, portions of the building could have already been taken up for occupation.
“Additional expenses are being incurred by including unnecessary items on the job list, such as lifting the concrete of the patlelo.”
In June the engineering consultants issued a second notice of default to Prominent Emzansi Projects regarding slow progress, lack of performance as well as the inability to complete the project.
It was indicated that the contractor had made a commitment to complete the work on April 30.
“There is no revised programme and recovery plan after the lapse of the said practical completion date of April 30. Your lack of progress on site, as well as a skeleton workforce on site, are signs indicating less commitment to bringing the work to completion.
“The consistent lack of supervisors from your side resulted in the removal of carpets and paving where not required.
“Toilets, at assembly, were improperly installed and poor and unacceptable quality of work, such as painting and tiling (were reported).”
It was also highlighted that the employer’s lease for temporary alternative accommodation had expired.
“The employer reserves the right to claim for damages for costs incurred caused by delays in the completion of the project.”
It was advised that should the contractor fail to remedy the default within 10 days of the issue of the notice on June 5, it could lead to the cancellation of the contract.
Spokesperson for the office of the executive manager for committees, research, information systems, public education and communications, Nathalia Borchard, confirmed that work had come to a “complete standstill” but indicated that the contractor had not abandoned site.
“The appointed contractor acknowledged cash flow challenges at the business end of the project, which resulted in slow progress on site for the past two months. They are pursuing options to complete the project, although it necessarily implies an extension of work.”
Borchard stated that the contractor had executed work specified in the scope of the bill of quantities and approved variations.
“It is untrue that plumbing and electrical work has not been attended to, while progress on these items were certified by the appointed consultants.
“The patlelo area is specified in the scope of work. Although this forms part of the bulk of outstanding work, it is regarded as essential to address the water ingress into the basement area.
“The project team is in the process of ceding this task to a reputable sub-contractor who can complete it according to specifications.”
Borchard added that there were continuous engagements between all role-players of the project team.
“The slow progress has been highlighted and the contractor exercised its right to respond to the notices. The legislature relies on the expert opinions and recommendations of the appointed consultants. The contractor has submitted a revised programme for practical completion.”
She believed that if the contractor resumed duties “within the next few days”, completion was “achievable”.
“The completion date has moved due to the challenges that the project experiences.”
Borchard also admitted that issues of sub-standard work had been discussed with contractor.
“The contractor’s work will be assessed by professionals, who will advise on the necessary corrections. The legislature is of the view that this aspect is common practice in the industry, where contractors, while still on site, are expected to attend to sub-standard work.
“As earlier mentioned the legislature will not be satisfied with anything less than the required work as specified in the bill of quantities.”
She regretted the delays being experienced in the completion of the project.
“The structural defects and repair project is taking longer than planned with the result that there are unexpected and unplanned financial implications for the institution.
“However, the legislature cannot perform its business in an unsuitable environment.
“The building may be certified to be in an advanced stage of completion, but due to the inaccessibility of some buildings as a result of incomplete areas, the institution cannot expose its members and administration to safety and health hazards.”
Borchard said the BP Jones building, currently being leased from JHI Cumulative Properties, was therefore a better option.
She added that the safety of staff could be further jeopardised by incomplete work.
“The parking area for members and management is situated in the basement while electrical shift gear equipment and the security control room are housed in the region of the patlelo. It needs to be properly sealed to prevent the water ingress and deterioration of the lower lying areas.”
Borchard acknowledged that the project could not be stalled indefinitely.
“The legislature needs to move back to its main facility. The provisions of the Joint Buildings Contract Committee was being enforced. Further legal options will follow, in line with these provisions, if necessary.”
Attempts to contact Prominent Emsanzi Projects were unsuccessful.
The chairperson of the Northern Cape Civics Organisation, Ross Henderson, questioned who was benefiting from the protracted delays.
“The owners of the buildings that are being leased on a temporary basis are in the meantime benefiting from the rentals which, on a month-to-month basis, will cost much more in the long run. This project is deemed to be nothing more than a cash cow for certain individuals and politicians.”