Brazilian company Construtora OAS Ltd, the main contractor for the Point Fortin Highway extension, has estimated the total cost of its delayed operations at US$593,082.87 or almost TT$4 million.
Construtora OAS has not yet filed a claim to the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco), but its programme management consultant AECOM, has already put together a claim summary for Nidco's consideration so that it could be repaid the cost of the delays.
It used information from a claim submission from Construtora OAS which was sent to project manager AECOM on June 12, 2012 and was e-mailed to Earl Wilson, a senior project manager at Nidco, on July 4.
The Sunday Express obtained a copy of the claim summary which stated: "The Contractor is asserting that the contractor was prepared to start the construction of the road worked at Debe on 21 April 2012. However, due to the occupation and other activities along the proposed highway alignment by members and supporters of the Highway Re-Route Movement, the Contractor was unable to proceed further in any works within this segment. Further to this, the Contractor is additionally asserting that this delay caused by the Highway Re-Route Movement has caused financial damages due to idle time of equipment that was brought on site to perform the works at this location and from labour forces to perform these works that were on site and required support by the Contractor during the delay period."
The memo noted that the US$593,082.87 amount was broken down into three points of claim- 50 calendar days of work, loss due to ineffective or idle construction equipment and labour and the fact that works for this area now pushed into the rain season with the potential for further delays and additional cost.
The memo stated that the US$593,08287 includes the ten-hour cost of claim preparation which was billed at US$163 an hour and a ten per cent overheads and profit as per contract at US$53,916.62, indirect costs at US$56,223.75, labour costs at US$14,906.25 and equipment idle cost at US$466,406.25.
However, additional information from Costrutora shows that the US$537,536.25 was itemised into 15 areas:
1. Manpower—inclusive of local and expat payroll, school costs, language, health insurance, provision dismissal and provisional manpower costs ( vacations etc).
3. Consultancy—some of which include Pembury Consultants T&T Limited, Project Management Group Ltd and Survey Services.
6. Laboratory and Surveying.
7. Materials and furniture.
11. Camp Site—Camp Site Maintenance, Cleaning Services.
13. Services in General—which include Waste Disposals, Ambulance Services Portable Toilets.
15. General Expenses—under which were security services (already itemised), consultancy services (already itemised), waste disposals (already itemised), portable toilets (already itemised) and English classes among others.
The memo noted, under the title of "Current Disposition of Claim", that the claim was "received by the engineer of the contractor on 12 June 2012, this claim is currently under analysis by the Engineer's team and no recommendations or determinations have been made as of the date of this memorandum"
It further noted: "In accordance to FIDIC requirements, Section 20.1, the Contractor is required to submit a note of claim within 28 days of the Contactor's awareness of a claim situation and submit the claim with appropriate backup materials within 42 days of the Contractor's awareness of same claim situation."
On June 27, National Security Minister Jack Warner had overseen the demolition of the Highway Re-route Movement's campsite. Workers from Construtora OAS were also present.
In defending Warner's action a day later, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan had said Warner had saved the country millions of dollars.
Contacted for comment on the matter last night, Ramlogan (who is out of the country) said the matter was of grave concern in light of the unfavourable experience the government has had in unravelling numerous claims from mis-managed mega projects in the recent past.
"The hidden costs in a billion-dollar highway project are quite significant. We cannot afford to throw money in the pockets of international contractors who are not at fault. I will vigorously assert the rights of the State in the public interest to protect the public purse," he said.