The designs for the new National Emergency Operations Center are said to be at the half way mark and consultants have submitted draft designs to the Project Support Services Unit for review.
Virella, Crespo and Associates out of Puerto Rico were contracted on July, 24 to undertake the design and project supervision works. The design team is made up of highly skilled and experienced structural and civil engineers, a quantity surveyor, architects, electrical and mechanical engineers, an environmental engineer and a compliance specialist.
Director of Projects in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Drexel Glasgow said that the project is on target and they now have draft plans in place for review.
Dr. Glasgow said, “We are advancing at a good pace with this project. We understand the urgency in getting the NEOC facility constructed but we also want to ensure that the designs are given the attention needed. Dr. Virella and his team have now given us the initial designs inclusive of mechanical and electrical drawings and drafts for the Environmental Management Plan and the Health and Safety Plan. We expect to send feedback on these in the coming days.”
The new NEOC facility will be designed in keeping with the International Building Code as well as the OECS Building Code. It is expected to also meet SMART and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) compliance which is the most widely used green building rating system in the world.
Dr. Glasgow said, “Considering the use of the facility before, during and after emergencies and disasters as well as to support continuity of Government operations we will ensure that the designs meet the highest standards. We also want to ensure that following its completion the facility can perform efficiently in terms of energy and water consumption.”
The Director of Projects further stated that additional funding is available to expand and upgrade emergency communications and early warning networks that are the central hub of any emergency operations center.
He added, “In addition to the design and construction of the facility we are also procuring emergency communications and early warning equipment that will be needed to support the operations of the facility and the work of the DDM. The procurement process for these items has already begun and we are in the last stages of securing the services of a project supervisor who will oversee the installation works. A lot is happening in this regard and we are excited that these projects are advancing at a steady pace.”
The design phase of the NEOC project is expected to conclude in December of this year followed by a tender process for the construction phase that meets the requirements of the BVI Government procurement standards as well as the requirements of the lending institution the Caribbean Development Bank.