Rock House Oven Housing Unit - Remarks from the Minister of Public Works, Lt. Col. the Hon. David A. Burch, OBE (Mil), ED, JP, MP

Good afternoon and thank you for being here today to witness the completion of yet another renovation project. I am joined by the Minister of Social Development and Seniors, the Honourable Tinee Furbert, JP, MP, the Chairman of the BHC Board MP Chris Famous, JP, MP members of the Board and staff of the Corporation.

This 3-bedroom/2-bathroom project was tendered, and submissions were received last December. LD Construction, owned by Mr. Leon Wiltshire, was awarded the contract with his pricing at the midpoint of the bidding. The work commenced in January this year with the scope of works including roughing in both plumbing and electrical, pouring a concrete floor, installing new windows and doors and interior framing and roof repairs. However, due to the discovery of extensive termite infestation and dry rot damage - the BHC project manager opted to re-engineer a new gable roof system with a lower pitch roof, rather than repair is, to reduce costs.

Following consultation with the Support Services Department (SSD) team it was decided to remodel this specific unit into an accessible unit. As such, we have converted the cottage to meet accessibility standards (ADA Compliant) and designed the second bathroom to meet this requirement.

These internal and external changes directly increased both the cost of construction and the time to complete the works. Additionally, we experienced delays in material procurement and shipping to Bermuda. The availability of concrete combined with the weather challenges also hampered the timeline. In an effort to ensure the project was not delayed any further, the Contractor provided manual labour to pour the concrete required for the ramp.

This Government is committed to meeting the needs of the community and in our 2020 election platform promised to create inclusion in our society for the differently abled by designing and constructing accessible units. The Progressive Labour Party (PLP) pledged to ensure that Bermudians have access to good and stable jobs. This has been achieved by hiring local contractors, plumbers, and electricians for this project. I thank them all for their outstanding work which we shall shortly see.

This project provides evidence of the Government’s commitment to increase building activity, accessibility, and adequate housing. Whilst slightly overbudget, at a cost of $305,000.00, due the ADA compliant changes, we are pleased to offer this unit to a deserving family to make it a comfortable home.

This project was managed by BHC’s Project Manager, Mr. Keino Furbert-Jacobs, and I wish to thank him for this excellent work! We are fortunate to have his knowledge and expertise in this industry to deliver the quality of work we witness today.

All the hard work of the Bermuda Housing Corporation Board and staff over the last 5 years is put on full display at occasions like this – the conclusion of a project. As you will have seen over the last several weeks – projects are coming to conclusion and our people are being housed. We continually have projects in various stages of renovation – so you can expect that we will have more occasions such as this going forward.

We are not finished yet – with a wait list of 129 - our commitment to providing affordable housing is resolute and we will not stop until the problem is solved.

I now invite Minister Furbert & Chairman Famous to cut the ribbon declaring this unit open – to be followed by the customary tour.

Thank you.