BY KELLY LAPOINTE - Construction work has started on the rebuild of Haitian trades school Ecole Lakay and the 2014 Canadian Construction Association (CCA) chair anticipates it will be complete a year from now.
“The construction work has finally started, we have piles that were driven into the ground. There are some minor setbacks with the quality of the work that is being done down there, but overall it’s very good,” said CCA 2014 Serge Massicotte.
“The contractors are currently working on foundations and we hope to be in a position to start pouring concrete in the next couple of weeks.”
The CCA teamed up with L’association de la construction du Quebec (ACQ) and the British Columbia Construction Association in 2010, and partnered with Builders Without Borders and The Rinaldi Foundation to rebuild the school in the aftermath of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti.
The school’s structural steel has arrived in Haiti and will be erected in about six to eight weeks, estimated Massicotte.
Jean Pouliot, president of Produits métalliques PMI of Rimouski, Que. and his crew will perform the steel erection on a volunteer basis.
“He volunteered to do the work, which is exceptional and we’re very grateful for that,” said Massicotte.
Site preparation was completed in December, which includes canal in-fill and relocation; demolition of a water reservoir, a septic tank and removal of debris; and grading, infill and compaction to finished grade.
In all, 52 helical piles were placed in late January.
Trench work and foundation work preparation is underway at Ecole Lakay.
Massicotte said the budget is being stretched as a result of the amount of construction work happening in Haiti, which is driving inflation.
“We’re going to do everything we can with the money that we have. Hopefully as we get closer to the end, people will see how far the project has moved along and realize that we may need to look to some other donors to do the last finishing touches to the school,” he said.
Massicotte has been to the construction site and plans on going on a more regular basis, about every two weeks, now that construction is advancing at a more rapid pace.
A contractor has been hired to do site preparation work, the relocation of canals and the installation of helical piles at the Ecole Lakay rebuild project site.
“The oversight is very important, both in terms of making sure money is well spent and that the quality of work is there,” he said.
The CCA has engaged MSAADA Architects, which is based out of Minnesota with an office in Haiti.
The group is a non-profit architectural service organization that volunteers architecture work for several developing countries.
“We’ve engaged them to do onsite supervision, onsite review, which will help us get this project moving forward,” explained Massicotte.
Haiti is a country that needs a lot of support, he added.
“It is quite devastating... the juxtaposition in wealth versus poverty there is quite striking,” he said.
“(I give) credit to a number of companies and individuals that have been involved in it and have given up their time and knowledge, it has certainly been a benefit.”
The CCA has been taking onsite footage of the project, including interviews and commentaries.