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Unsafe quarry buildings being demolished

The entrance to the Government Quarry

Demolition work has begun at the Government Quarry to tear down two buildings that were seriously damaged in a hurricane.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said the former carpentry and paint shop buildings at the site were in need of major renovations in the wake of Hurricane Humberto in 2019.

“The engineering assessment concluded that the structural frame of the buildings was greatly compromised and inadequate for continued use and as a result, would be extremely unsafe for the employees to work in,” he said.

“Therefore, the services being performed in the buildings were relocated to other venues.

“A comparison of pricing was made for a new build versus a full renovation of the existing structures. The option selected was to rebuild the structures; thus, a demolition was required.”

Colonel Burch said that in 2020 the Department of Public Lands and Buildings had questioned staff at the quarry about whether the project could be carried out by its staff, but was told they could not.

“Subsequently, the ministry issued a low-value procurement request for the completion of the project, to which three contractors submitted quotes in accordance with the Government’s Code of Practice for Project Management and Procurement,” he added.

“The contract was awarded to the lowest bidder to ensure value for money and is therefore valued at $12,935 – subject to contingencies.”

The minister said staff at the quarry were told about the work on several occasions before the demolition work was scheduled to begin on November 11.

The work was later delayed until November 19 at the request of management to give staff time to remove their belongings and prepare the buildings

Colonel Burch added that a feasibility study of the quarry would begin soon and that no decision about the future of quarry operations had been made.

He also reiterated that no decision would be made without consultation with the Bermuda Industrial Union.

In July, Colonel Burch told the House of Assembly that a financial feasibility study would be carried out on operations at the quarry to provide recommendations for the Government’s consideration.

He said at the time: “It’s time to be honest with ourselves – we must take a serious look at how we do things and then take the necessary steps to effect improvement.

“The review at the quarry depot is the beginning of taking such steps to improve our operations and make them more efficient. I am confident that together we can agree a plan to make significant improvements to the operations at the quarry depot.”

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Published November 25, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated November 25, 2022 at 7:54 am)

Unsafe quarry buildings being demolished

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