Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 9th 2014 Contents "When we design a contract for a contractor, we know
where the risks lie, we know how to protect ourselves and our
ultimate client, which is the THA. We take on the risk and
know how best to manage it. So if there is a cost overrun,
it is not meant to be passed on to the taxpayer because we
are the buffer between the contractor and the Government,"
Rahael said using the PPP model, the private developer has
every reason to bring in the project on time and within the
"This is because the private developer has a limited budget
to work with. Any cost overruns and delays are to the account
of the developer. The developer cannot pass this on to the
client, which is the taxpayer or the government agency. There
is a fixed price contract and everyone knows what it is up
front, and the best part is the Government does not come up
with any money until the project is complete," he said.
Rahael said private developers make their profits off a PPP
project by factoring in the profit margin in the total cost
package of the project given to them by the client.
"The price is negotiated between the parties. There is the
cost of design, cost of construction, costs of financing, and
then you include your profit margin in this. That would be
the price the private developer offers to the client for the
project," he said.
Rahael spoke to the Business Guardian on Monday at his
office, Trade Zone, El Socorro, San Juan.
Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal has forecast a construction
boom in 2014.
He said the Children s Hospital in Preysal and an Aquatic
Centre for Couva got underway in 2013, and promised that
construction would start this year on new hospitals for Arima
and Point Fortin.
Moonilal said it would cost $1 billion to outfit the Government
Campus Plaza and Ministry of Education Tower in Port-of-
Rahael said there should be more construction activity, but
a "boom" is not necessarily a good thing as the private sector
would prefer "sustained growth."
"What we look for is a sustained growth over a period of
time. Typically, what follows a boom is a bust. The Government
and private sector have a role as well and to ensure we do not
get too ahead of ourselves in terms of Government putting
too many projects into the marketplace at one time. You do
find that what happens is there is a starvation of proper labour
and resources. It is important to spread those out and balance
it with productivity. Of course, at the same time, we do not
want just one project a year," he said.
Rahael believes Moonilal s forecast is "realistic."
"There are lots of factors that could influence this. It really
is hard to say. There is the energy sector, retail sector, food
and agriculture and other sectors that influence the gross
domestic product (GDP). From a construction and developer s
view, there are a lot of projects around."
"There is room" for more projects, Rahael said.
"There are some projects the Government has initiated, like
hospitals, schools, around the country. There is also the housing
programme in the last few years. There is activity the Gov-
ernment is putting out there in terms of construction, but
the Government can do more as the industry can handle
Rahael said the private sector must also play its part.
"There are developers out there, this company included,
that have some projects in the pipeline, but there is room for
more from the private sector. I want to see private investors
take the leap and have confidence in the economy and start
their projects, but there must be an efficient supply of goods
and labour. So there needs to be the granting of approvals in
a timely manner, approving of designs quickly from WASA
and other agencies," he said.
He said the construction sector was negatively affected
when the economy started to decline around 2009.
"It was as a result of projects stopping. The Governments
halted projects and a lot of developers who had plans for work
in 2010 and 2011 did not execute those plans as they were
concerned about the state of the economy. I am starting to
see some of that renewed confidence, but it is happening at
a measured pace."
Rahael pointed out some of the design challenges the con-
struction industry faces.
"Every industry has its challenges, including ours, and our
challenges on the design side is facing the different Government
agencies, like Town and Country, WASA, T&TEC, to get the
relevant approvals that we need in order to have our construction
run efficiently. Many times you need feedback from WASA
or approval from Town and Country; it takes a lot longer than
one would expect and it causes delays on designs."
On the construction aspect of the operations, challenges
also exist, he added.
"This includes procurement of material, getting material
from the port, our suppliers getting materials from their foreign
suppliers, the whole procurement pipeline is always a challenge
due to some of the inefficiencies in the country. Bottlenecks
with regard to traffic and other problems."
He said the labour shortage is not as bad as it was during
the pre-2009 boom days.
"Now labour is a lot easier to get as the construction industry
has levelled out. When the construction industry heats up,
like in 2007, it was impossible to get labour with labour imports
from the Philippines and other regional countries. In 2010
and 2011 that subsided. There was no need for that influx of
labour. I think we are still at that point where we do not nec-
essarily need foreign labour. But if there is a boom, as some
say, then we will be back to needing foreign labour."
Rahael wants the Government to place greater emphasis on
training workers for the construction industry.
"We want this done so if or when another boom arrives,
we do not need to look abroad for skilled and semi-skilled
labour. So we do not have to go to the United States or the
Philippines or some other country. It is getting more and more
expensive to bring labour from the Unites States. We need
project managers and engineers and we look at the technical
institutes for those at the craftsman level," he said.
He said the Government must be efficient in its payment
to contractors and others in the construction industry.
"It almost happens as a rule now, the payment from the
Government agencies, whether it is to private contractors,
sub- contractors or developers, happens way to late or way
too slowly and it is extremely cumbersome too have executed.
We would submit our bills and claims and what would take
45 days to be paid would take some time just for a query to
be made. Many times, it is just administration."
Rahael said Amera is a real estate dealer capable of executing
all aspects of the building process for the client, from start
Amera starts with the identification and procurement of
land, then determines the best use for that land, then gets
designs done, after it does the financing and marketing for
the customer and its building.
Some of the projects Amera is working on in 2014 include
the South Park Mall in San Fernando, which is 200,000 square
feet of leasable area and will house a multi-screen cinema,
restaurants, car dealership and other tenants.
The South Park Mall will cost $300 million.
Other projects include the Price Plaza Mall in Chaguanas.
"We are doing an extension to the Price Plaza Mall, a car
park as well as a new Pizza Hut facility in addition to a 20,000
square feet of office space. This costs approximately $30
million. We are also half-way complete with a 40,000 square
feet of office building at Queen s Park West. This costs about
$50 million. That is what we have underway so far in terms
He also said The Renaissance at Shorelands residential
towers in Glencoe was completed in 2013, four years past the
original completion date of 2009. It is an upscale condo apart-
ment development overlooking the Gulf of Paria comprising
There are other projects planned for 2014.
"We are looking at a couple office buildings in Port-of-
Spain as well as one or two other retail buildings, one in Arima
and the other in Port-of-Spain," Rahael said.
JANUARY 2014 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG5
Amera has $380m worth of
projects under construction
From Page 4
Rahael wants the
Government to place greater
emphasis on training workers
for the construction industry.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
Links Archive January 8th 2014 January 10th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page