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Small builders step up

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Small builders step up

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Government was making good on its commitment to work with small contractors.
Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley yesterday revealed that close to 22 small contractors have been engaged so far at the two projects at Lancaster, St James, and Parish Land, St Philip.
He said the three sites, where just over 200 one and two-bedroom starter homes were being built, were “earmarked” for construction by small contractors.
Speaking to reporters after touring the sites, Lashley said Government had secured a $40 million loan from a leading commercial bank to make that commitment a reality.
“What basically you went through this morning basically is a tour of that loan and basically the project including small contractors in progress,” he said.
“I’m really impressed with the high quality of work. We’ve had no bad experiences with the workmanship. I think everything is running smooth,” Lashley added.
It is against that backdrop that Lashley said he was “surprised” at comments on the call-in radio programmes to the effect that small contractors were not being employed  by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) and the Ministry of Housing and Lands, by extension.
He said an analysis was done at the NHC on the small contractors used at the corporation between 1994 and 2008 and he would be making the document available to the public “soon”.
According to Lashley, ten to 12 contractors were employed between that time. Conversely, he said 22 had been employed since 2008 and some more would be coming with the other projects under the same $40 million contract.
Peterkin Brome, of Pro J Construction, one of the contractors working at Lancaster No. 2, said his firm had brought in the ten houses on time.
“We’ve been able to get the houses completed within the period of a house a month. The first five that I did the electricity is on.
“It is an excellent opportunity the Government has given small contractors like ourselves, to be able to produce these houses for Barbadians, with the possibility of undertaking more projects by the Ministry of Housing,” Brome said, adding that they were grateful for this first opportunity. (YB)