The end result of a project dating back to 2019 that will shelter the island’s homeless housed at the Salvation Army Shelter on Parsons Road, was today unveiled by the Minister of Public Works.

While noting that the project was completed late and over budget, Lt Col David Burch, said the official ribbon cutting ceremony still marked “a day of celebration”.

“Ultimately, as it pertains to the needs of Bermuda’s vulnerable community, the Government’s primary objective is to ensure that the men and women in need of shelter and support have a safe place for refuge,” said Minister Burch.

“We take another step in that journey by delivering on this project today.”

The Minister noted that further escalation in the cost of materials ensued during the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2021, for paint, steel, lumber, plumbing, electrical, door hardware, adhesives, etc.

“No sector was spared,” he said.

“Delivery times were stretched beyond anticipation due to the high demand for materials.

“Additionally, local labour resources were already stretched as contractors were busy on various sites throughout the island.

“This dilemma of increasing costs and supply chain issues will affect other projects currently underway and future ones,” said Col Burch.

“We are planning for this eventuality, but I anticipate that this will be an unpredictable feature of construction works for the foreseeable future.

He also commended the quality of work carried out at the site, saying it was “done to an outstanding quality and raises the bar for the way we cater to those in need of shelter”.

“I am particularly delighted that we have been able to deliver on our commitment to the Salvation Army and those in need,” he added.

Active in Bermuda for more than 125 years, the Minister said the Salvation Army “has provied quality transitional housing and support programmes for the most vulnerable in our society” for over 55 years.

A structural assessment of the buildings back in 2019 showed that “only a few needed to be demolished and replaced, while others required some upgrading”.

“The first phase of refurbishment was championed by two local philanthropists, who through their effort and contribution to this worthy cause, made those works possible,” said Col Burch.

“The Government of Bermuda, through the Bermuda Housing Corporation, engaged in a Public-Private Partnership with Mr Jim Butterfield and Mr Kirk Kitson to rehabilitate and refurbish the Shelter buildings and they are with us today to witness the conclusion of this work.

“It was agreed that the government would match the funding that was raised by them to upgrade the facility,” he added.

Moving forward, he said: “The Salvation Army and BHC agreed on what the replacement buildings would be – the new container building design. Significant work, including the replacement of roofs, repairs to walls and foundations, and extensive plumbing and electrical work have been completed.”

As a result, he said: “Two residential buildings housing the men and women of the Shelter have been remodeled and refurbished, and the central building housing the Administration staff, common areas, and the kitchen were repaired. That work was completed in December 2020.”

But the new builds scheduled were impacted heavily by the global COVID pandemic, which hindered progress “considerably during shelter in place and lock downs”.

i

The Minister’s Statement On COSTS:

The estimate at that time was $454,326 per block for a total of $1,362,978 for the project, but foundation costs and customs duties had to be added. These were to be pre-configured containers with only the addition of furnishings needed. In January 2020, a request was made for grant funding of $1M to be set aside for the upgrading of the Salvation Army shelter and were approved in the 2020/21 Budget.

In March 2020, a review of the estimate was completed but this time the containers would be purchased empty and assembled in Bermuda. These would be three two-story blocks with ten beds per block for a total of thirty beds. This estimate was $348,000.00 per block which included $48,000.00 for foundation and steel, total for all three blocks of $1,912,000.00. This estimate however did not include any freight or duties. The Projects Department started work on design in January 2021 and went through two different plans having agreed to the final plan in June 2021, which is the two, two-story blocks with fourteen single rooms in each block for a total of twenty-eight units that we are opening today.

The most significant increase in the project is the pile foundations increase to $551,580.75 from the original estimate of $44,000 due to the massive increases in the price of steel and the level we had to drive the piles down before hitting a solid surface (12 pile foundations were driven to depths greater than 90’ with the deepest reaching 151’).

So the total to date, including the remaining contract sums to be paid is:

$1,798,531.35 expected to be $1,820,000.00.

Material rates increased by 50%- 150% (2021-2022), greater than 150% in early 2022

  • Labour and engineering: $628,295.52
  • Pile foundations: $551,580.75
  • Local materials: $359,829.00
  • Overseas materials + shipping $258,826.08

To sum it up, a myriad of challenges were encountered over the course of the project that derived from COVID and global supply chain issues.

In closing, the Minister also thanked “all those involved in the construction of this project but particularly – BHC Project Manager – Mr Keino Furbert-Jacobs for all the work he has done on this project over the last 2 ½ years from researching the replacement buildings, securing planning approvals, organizing the bidding for the work, managing contractors, dealing with supply chain issues and all the other things that crop up during a project such as this –thank you Keino for a job well done”.

The Minister was joined by the Minister of Social Development & Seniors, Tinee Furbert, the new Salvation Army Bermuda Divisional Commander Major Rob Kerr & Executives of the Army, members of BHC Board and staff.