Gibson stresses bid process for Long Island water works transparent
Executive Chairman of the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Adrian Gibson sought to clear the air about the fairness of a contract bid to construct water works in two areas of Long Island that will give those parts reliable water for the first time.
Gibson said while political operatives have sought to sully the process WSC used to sign a contract with BHM Company Limited (also known as Bahamas Hot Mix), the process used was the most transparent and contained the parameters expected by the Caribbean Development Bank, which is partially funding the project.
Gibson said international consultants were hired to ensure the process was unbiased. The scrutiny was such that, according to Gibson, two firms were disqualified due to a potential conflict of interest, which left nine firms to be assessed.
“The corporation noticed that the submissions of two contractors contained professional references for individuals who were in the employ of the former engineering firm, who were charged with overseeing the work,” said Gibson.
“As a result, the services of that engineering firm were terminated without prejudice and the bids of the two contractors were disqualified.
“The corporation will arrange a meeting with representatives of the two firms to further discuss this matter.”
According to statistics provided by Gibson, only six of the remaining nine firms were more than 50 percent in compliance by providing requisite documents and meeting the requisite requirements. And only BHM reached into the high 90 percent in terms of those requested requirements. The closest firm was 20 percentage points behind BHM in meeting the requirements. And that firm was also the highest bidder.
A firm out of Long Island provided the lowest bid, which was less than half the amount that the job was estimated to cost by professional engineers.
Gibson said WSC also asked for estimates that provided a discount if both lots one and two were to be contracted at the same time. BHM gave a substantial discount for both jobs.
He added that there were environmental requirements in line with international best practices that were not met by many of the other bidders. Many also failed to submit audited financial statements, which was a requirement, given the need for a company with a certain amount of capitalization.
The bids called for an average annual construction turnover (defined as payments received for works in progress or completed) within the last five years of at least $4 million for lot one and $2 million for lot two; an average annual design of works turnover (defined as certified payments received for works in progress or completed) within five years of at least $360,000 for lot one and $270,000 for lot two; a demonstrable cash flow (including access to credit) of $740,000 for lot one and $540,000 for lot two; experience as a contractor/sub-contractor in the construction of at least two assignments of a nature, scope and complexity comparable to the proposed project activity within the last 10 years that was at least 80 percent complete; and experience as a designer of at least two assignments of a nature, scope and complexity comparable to the proposed project activity within the last 10 years that was at least 80 percent complete.