Saturday, February 17, 2018

‘NAPA, SAPA falling down’

 Less than four years after it opened, the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) which cost approximately $500 million, needs about $100 million to repair the “deteriorating” building and make it “functional” in terms of the arts.

NAPA and the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) are falling down, said Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Lincoln Douglas. He said both buildings were in a state of serious deterioration because of the inferior materials and bad workmanship used by the Chinese contractor, Shanghai Construction. “We estimate that in terms of NAPA alone we would be approaching $100 million in terms of repairs to make it a functional building in terms of the arts,” he said. “These buildings require a huge amount of attention,” he said. 

NAPA was completed in April 2010 while SAPA was completed in September 2012. Both contracts were awarded under the last administration.

In SAPA alone three hundred problems had been identified by the facilities operation official and the contractor hired to go through the building. He said the ministry was still to examine the buildings for their functionality towards the arts and culture. 

“We closed it for three months last year - from December to March- to fix a lot of the issues and it cost us $20 million,”he said. 

 He said most of the material for repair and replacement for both buildings had to be obtained from China, and this took three months to deliver. “Some of the dimensions they used like the screws and the bolts are unique to China. They are not universal bolts and nuts,” he said.

Asked how this would influence Government which was still using Chinese contractors, Douglas said he hoped that this would be a learning experience for the country. 

“We find them a little slippery to deal with but hopefully the project managers would hold them accountable enough to the standards that are expected,” he said, adding that NAPA was completed in a “rush” to meet a deadline for its opening. He said all these things would be factored into future projects with Chinese contractors.

 Douglas was responding to a question posed by PNM Senator Camille Robinson-Regis in the Senate yesterday.    

He said NAPA was showing some “significant signs of deterioration” because of the low grade type of materials and workshop.  He said tiles were falling off the building, plumbing was failing due to inferior grade sanitary ware and fittings, the foundation was failing in terms of its design and filtration system. He said the moving stage showed major defects and support stands for the stage were crumbling. “It isn’t functioning well now” he said.

The minister said there were leaks appearing around the steel pipes, indicating a breakdown of the wall of the pipes on the assumption that inferior pipes were used by the contractor. —Ria Taitt