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Cavalier to hire ‘at least’ 20 subcontractors for PMH project

Top management at Cavalier Construction plans to hire at least 20 local subcontractors amounting to hundreds of jobs and more than $20 million worth of work, Guardian Business can reveal.

Letters of intent have been sent to the Bahamian firms to commission work for the $52 million Princess Margaret Hospital extention, according to Richard Wilson, the managing director of Cavalier.

He estimated that the subcontractors will create “in the region of 500 jobs” over the next few months.

“It’s a big shot in the arm, certainly,” he told Guardian Business. “All of the subcontractors are Bahamian, mostly in mechanical, air conditioning, fire protection [and] electrical work.”

The massive undertaking has also come as welcomed news for Cavalier Construction, Wilson added. The company has been on a four-day work week for the last six months, he said, as staff at all levels took a 20 percent pay cut.

“It’s a real boost for us, particularly for our company and our staff,” he said.

Although the new critical care block – including six new operating theaters, a pre-op and post-op area, 18 ICU private rooms and a neonatal unit – isn’t the biggest project in the history of the construction firm, Wilson said it’s probably the most complicated.

Working with medical gases and dealing in life safety make the job complex, he said, but in particular, “it’s a huge job that requires tremendous amounts of coordination”. Hiring 20 or more subcontractors and keeping everyone focused is perhaps the most complex undertaking.

Wilson said Cavalier is now pouring concrete, building the retaining walls and setting the foundations.

At the same time, workers are trying to locate existing infrastructure on the site by hand, digging into the earth to discover pipes and power lines, for example.

“It’s tedious work and there is not much information or drawings to go on,” he explained. “We have to locate them as we go.”

Cavalier will shut down operations on Dec. 21 for the holidays and resume work on Jan. 3.

 

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