Monday, May 27, 2024

BIUST Phase One handed over to Education Ministry

The first phase of Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) has been handed over to the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD).

The first phase is the Founding Campus, funded solely by the Government of Botswana and is designed to accommodate an initial intake of 256 students.

Situated on 2500 hectare plot, the campus comprises of main buildings; Administration, Library and Auditorium, Laboratories and classrooms, Multi-Purpose Hall, 35 semi-detached Junior Staff Houses, 35 Senior Staff Houses, Kitchen and Dining Hall, Students’ Hostels and Sports Fields.

He said though the project has taken time to complete it is the quality that they desire, which this country also deserves.

“We have ensured that all building specifications were followed and the client should be proud to receive this project and need,” said Johnie Swartz, the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST).

Due to the cost, complexity and magnitude of this project, Government decided to develop BIUST in two phases. Swartz said 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.

The campus has its own sewer ponds to sustain its operations until Palapye Treatment Plant has been expanded and the reticulation network extended to service this area.

He said the Cabinet’s position is that the MoESD should do everything possible to ensure that BIUST students start their classes here this year.

“Immediate occupation of BIUST buildings will provide BIUST an opportunity to identify any latent defects for the contractor to rectify at own cost during the one year defect liability period,” said Swartz.

Failure to immediately utilize any part of this facility during the defects liability period will mean that any defects discovered after the expiry of that period will have to be paid for in order to rectify them.

Giving an overview of the project, Dikagiso Mokotedi, the permanent secretary at MIST, said they have encountered a couple of revisions to the completion date, due to various circumstances, including necessary variations initiated by the client, China Civil.

Mokotedi said the project went out for tender in 2008 as Design and Build contract and work commenced on the 16thof March 2009 and the project was scheduled for completion on 12 September 2010, almost two years ago.

As a result, the contractor was 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,” said Mokotedi.

He said other contributing factors to the delay were seemingly the 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.

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.

“This must be seen as an achievement considering the many variations imposed on the project,” he said.

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