The Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology (MIST) has reached its milestone of handing over Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) project to the Ministry of Education and Skills Development.
The handing over which was done yesterday at Palapye was an immense feat for MIST as opposed to the overdue of the project.
“BIUST was conceived to satisfy the learning needs for many people in our country, the region and beyond. It was also to increase the intellectual capital resources in terms of science and technology as a base for economic diversification and Development. This Project therefore re -affirms our Government’s commitment to the provision and improvement of access to Science related education,” said the Minister Infrastructure Science and technology Johnie Swartz.
Swartz said due to the cost, complexity and magnitude of this project, the government decided to develop BIUST in two phases, the first of which is the Founding Campus, funded solely by the Government of Botswana and designed to accommodate an initial intake of 256 students.
However the Founding Campus is complete and was handed over yesterday.
The second and larger phase is intended to be funded and developed using a Private Public Partnership methodology. Plans are that when both phases are complete, the campus will have a total of 6000 full time students.
BIUST students are expected to start their classes this year. Immediate occupation of BIUST buildings will provide BIUST and opportunity to identify any latent defects for the contractor to rectify at own cost during the one year defect liability period.
Giving his remarks on the overview of the project the permanent secretary from MIST Mr. Dikagiso Mokotedi said they have encountered a couple of revisions to the completion date, due to various circumstances including necessary variations initiated by the client.
“This project went out for tender in 2008 as Design and Build contract and work commenced on the 16thof March 2009. The project was scheduled for completion on 12 September 2010, almost two years ago. The currently valid completion date is 01stFebruary 2012 which unfortunately has not been met and has resulted in the contractor being levied Liquidated and Ascertained Damages also known as LADs from that date. The LADs levied currently amount to around 21 million pula. The latest award for extension of time was granted by the independent Dispute Adjudication Board,” outlined Mokotedi.
He said other contributing factors to the delay were seemingly disorganized manner in which the contractor conducted his affairs on site by producing programmes without resources stated and by not daily ensuring adherence to those programmes.
“There were also notable delays on designs and in procuring materials timely. MIST as the employer and its team of consultants and quality auditors commenced detailed inspections in February 2012, to assist the contractor with producing acceptable work.”
“In desperation, we have even brought the Chinese Ambassador and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to help us impress the importance of finishing this project on time to the contractor. The contractor then promised to hand over the project to us by end of June this year. Effective the 1st of July 2012, the contractor gave access to BIUST to commence installations of fixed furniture and equipment whilst he continued making good listed defects and performing the contractual tests and commissioning required prior to hand over.”
Despite the distraction Mokotedi expressed their happiness indicating that they expected this project not to overshoot the initial budget of P429 015 701.60, although the final accounts have not yet been compiled.
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