Pouring the foundation of St. Maarten General Hospital.
CAY HILL--The next pouring of a subsequent section of the basement floor of St. Maarten General Hospital (SMGH) is scheduled within the next few days as the new hospital project gathers steam and resumes full construction activities after main contractor FINSO (formerly known as INSO) completes its full transition as a result of its acquisition by new parent company Fincantieri Group, as announced in 2021.
The opening of a local bank account has been finalised and as such payments to subcontractors can be done locally shortly without any further issues, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) announced in a press release on Wednesday.
As of June 2021, it was announced that FINSO took over the activities of INSO, but it took until mid-October before all formalities for taking over the hospital project were finalised. Those formalities had to do with issuing of new performance bonds, providing parent guarantees, incorporating a new local branch office, and formally transferring all personnel from INSO to FINSO. In addition, FINSO also optimised and restructured the activities from INSO in Italy into the corporate culture and structure of the Fincantieri Group, said the release.
FINSO is a general contractor that aims to collaborate mostly with local subcontractors in all their construction projects. FINSO is responsible for the delivery of a completely new hospital on St. Maarten including all medical equipment, furniture and fixtures. The medical equipment component is a large part of the overall construction budget, but nevertheless it is agreed with FINSO that approximately 49 per cent of the entire construction budget will be spent on the island, which will have a positive effect on the local economy.
After the incorporation of the new local branch, FINSO could start the process of opening a local bank account. Due to increased compliance (KYC – Know Your Customer) protocols that banks are obliged to follow, the opening of a new bank account can become a time-consuming exercise.
The release said the Christmas holidays and time necessary to translate FINSO’s corporate documents from Italian to English have added to the incurred delays. However, SMMC has received confirmation from FINSO that the local bank account is now open and FINSO is taking care of transferring the funds to this account, to immediately make outstanding payments to the local subcontractors.
“When looking at the activities at the construction site over the past two months, one could witness limited ongoing construction activities,” stated the release. FINSO stated that there are multiple reasons for this limited progress but nonetheless, SMMC is urging the contractor on a daily basis to accelerate the activities as much as possible.
One of the next milestones is the fourth pour for the basement floor, which is scheduled shortly. With this fourth pour, the foundation of the main building is more than halfway.
Following the Job fair in November 2021, FINSO and its subcontractors are in the process of hiring additional skilled labour as the contractor aims to ramp up construction activities from here on out now that all transition formalities have been completed, and the main focus can be brought back to resuming all construction activities. “FINSO, just like most companies in the world, has challenges getting construction materials to St. Maarten on time due to supply chain challenges (material shortages) and international shipping delays due to a lack of available containers,” said the release.
After the take-over, FINSO performed a detailed evaluation of the time schedule, work methods, the final design and the availability of local labour and equipment. Based on this evaluation, FINSO is now optimising their planning and work methods for the project.
With these optimisations, FINSO informed SMMC that by the end of February 2022, the improvements in their approach to run the project will be visible. By then, SMMC will also have a better insight regarding the timeline of the construction project, which has already been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the transfer from INSO to FINSO.
SMMC said that although it has created temporary provisions to expand its care services at its present location, the new hospital will further improve care services for its patients, bringing quality care close to home, and therefore SMMC anticipates delivery of the project as soon as possible through an optimized work approach by FINSO.