BIH pursues 'culprits' after P24.6m crack

Icon building PIC: BIH.CO.BW
Icon building PIC: BIH.CO.BW

Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) is pursuing reimbursement from as yet unnamed parties for the crack that occurred in the construction of its P717 million state-of-the-art Icon Building at the Science and Technology Park in Gaborone.

This week, the Hub revealed that the crack and other defects cost P24.6 million, a bill government agreed to pick up.

 Legal experts roped in for a faultfinding mission by BIH last year, finalised their report in July, according to the Hub’s 2018 annual report released this week. “The company continues to engage with legal experts to pursue the reimbursement of the remedial costs from the service providers who are considered to be potentially at fault for these cracks and defects,” the Hub disclosed.

The Hub also said the Icon Building would require another P126 million to complete, including the remediation works. “Adequate funding has been sourced from the Government of Botswana,” the annual report reads.

Last year BusinessWeek revealed that British firm, Burohappolb Engineering Company, which is an independent international structural engineering group, had been engaged to find whom to blame for the structural defects at the Hub’s Icon Building.

According to available information, firms involved in the project included Zhengtai and Caitec, a Chinese joint venture as the main contractor and Sharps Electrical as citizen owned main subcontractor.

The project team was made up of Shop Architects (lead architects) and Nutall Smith Architects (local architects partner), while citizen-owned company Mmile Mhutsiwa and Associates were the quantity surveyors. The structural and civil engineering was done by a joint venture between Pula Consultants (citizen-owned) and WSP Consultants (SA).

Government had initially estimated that the cost of rectifying the defects could reach P60 million. The delays mean the Icon Building, which is set to be one of the continent’s most expensive and most technologically advanced buildings, will now be complete next year.

The Icon Building was initially expected to be complete in August 2016.   Despite the delays, the Hub has been able to secure anchor tenants and others who began moving into the Building in December 2017.

Currently, the building houses a number of technology and innovation driven companies.  At the Science and Technology Park, eight plots have been signed up for development. Orange Botswana has already commenced the development of a P70 million Tier 3 Data Centre at the Park while the Okavango Diamond Company has also secured a plot to build their head office within the park.

Government invested P853 million to build the Science and Technology Park. From the P853 million allocated by treasury, P137 million was for extensive civil infrastructure while about P717 million was set aside for the construction of the Icon Building.

Editor's Comment
Botswana needs proper rehabilitation centres

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