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UWI graduate students, professor visit Argyle international airport site

UWI graduate students, professor visit Argyle international airport site


For nine project management students from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill), the Argyle international airport (AIA) project was the perfect place to witness what they have learned, being put into practice.

Last Friday, the students, who are pursuing{{more}} a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Building and Construction Management at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and their professor, journeyed to St Vincent and the Grenadines for the day, to experience the large scale construction site at the AIA and to learn about the work that has gone into the project since it began.

The visit included a trip to the airport site, where CEO of the International Airport Development Company (IADC), Dr Rudolph Matthias, gave a presentation on the journey of the project from inception.

This presentation was followed by a visit to the control tower, which overlooks the entire airport site, and the fire station which is being constructed by Innotech Services Limited.

Following the tour, graduate student Terry Hutchinson told SEARCHLIGHT that the trip had lived up to his expectations.

Hutchinson revealed that he had heard about the project and initially had reservations, particularly in relation to craftsmanship and quality work.

“It is a massive project to start with and it had to be very meticulous project management in terms of getting it run. It seems to be running smoothly. From what I’ve seen is that a lot of the activities are sequenced accordingly in project management terms and that is very useful in terms of delivering a project on time and close to the budget or under the budget,” the student said.

“Even the workmanship, the quality of the work is very good. I was looking at the concrete and not seeing any of the signs that you would normally see in some large projects with how they pour concrete and so forth. One of the things I was wondering all along, is it really going to be this spectacular, but clearly you can see it for sure.”

Hutchinson also commended the project for reusing materials that they excavated and described it as a good cost saving measure.

“They have the crushing plant…they reuse that material, whether is in asphalt or concrete, it’s very good and the results are being seen,” he said.

“The project, when I first heard of it, it seemed ambitious, but they really had a plan with the stakeholder management, how they managed to obtain the properties and so forth that they needed. The 139 homes, how they went about that was commendable.”

CEO of Innotech Services Limited Martin DaSilva pointed out that the MSc in Building and Construction Management was conceptualized in 2008, when it was realized that there was a shortage of qualified persons to run some of the larger commercial projects.

“We recognized that there was a challenge in Barbados in terms of being able to find suitably qualified people to adequately resource some of our large commercial projects. At the same time also, the construction industry was growing substantially and growing fast in terms of new processes, new building techniques, but our human resources were not moving quite as fast,” DaSilva said.

The programme, which is sponsored by Innotech Services Limited, officially began in 2010 and is offered at the Cave Hill campus of the UWI.

The CEO explained that visits to large construction project sites were incorporated into the programme in an effort to give students hands-on experience, as it relates to managing large-scale projects.

“This year we agreed on the Argyle international airport project. Largely because it’s probably, I think, one of the most courageous projects in the Caribbean. Extremely courageous for any government to contemplate and every time I come here, I’m so surprised, yet excited about the progress that they are making,” he said.

“The idea behind these visits with the students is hopefully to give them a first-hand feel and touch kind of interaction with a project in progress, where they can visit and speak with some of the persons on the ground and understand how the projects were conceptualized.”

The students were also scheduled to visit the geothermal project at La Soufriere, but were unable to do so, as they were two hours behind schedule because their flight into St Vincent had been delayed.(BK)