Council Responds To Criticism Over Local Builders

Work underway on Porthcressa by mainland construction company, Kier Western

The Council says complaints that locals have been overlooked when building contracts have been awarded don’t take give the full picture.

Richard Chiverton and Todd Stevens have both written to complain that islands’ builders haven’t been offered a fair share of recent projects.

But Diana Mompoloki of the Council says there are strict tendering rules, which mean the Town Hall can’t ringfence work for locals. Any business must be allowed to tender.

Diana says the way in which work is advertised depends on the scale of the project and if it is over £14,000, a tender has to go through a transparent process of evaluation with applications looked over by professionals.

The Porthcressa Regeneration project work had to be advertised widely because of the EU rules that go with the funding and that brought interest from builders in Germany, India and Egypt as well as the UK.

From Radio Scilly

Todd Stevens talks to Radio Scilly about his frustration over getting Council building work


Diana Mompoloki responds to criticism of the Council over building project tenders

The Council split the scheme into four separate £1m lots although they realise that for a project of that size, island firms may still find cash flow a challenge.

Only three builders tendered and the local builder who applied didn’t go for all of the four lots.

Diana says local builders have been given work on Park House, Normandy Pool, the Strand Shelter, Parade House and repairs to Council offices.

And while Todd Stevens says he’s delighted that the Duchy has used island builders on projects, Diana says the Town Hall is being unfairly singled out for criticism when the Parish Church, Tresco Estate and the planned St Martin’s Hall have all chosen mainland contractors.

Diana wants locals to pitch for the work to build the new Innovation Centre at the former Wholesalers site on Porthmellon, but anyone applying will need to spend time on paperwork and gaining the required professional accreditations if they want to be considered.

There are also financial checks and companies need to prove they can get a significant credit line to suppliers.

Diana says ‘best value’ doesn’t just mean the lowest cost. It’s about how the project will be delivered, including health and safety and compliance with so-called Construction, Design and Management regulations.

They also prefer contractors who have signed up to the Considerate Constructors Scheme, which lays down standards for how a site should be run. This could include rules on, for example, the playing of radios and the standard of welfare facilities for workers.

There’s a perception that we should use local builders in preference to anyone else, says Diana, but that’s simply not possible and would also be illegal.


4 Responses to Council Responds To Criticism Over Local Builders

  1. Todd Stevens April 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Take a visit to the grand and wonderful porthcressa project and play-‘spot the local workman’ It might be easier to play here as you can walk on the beach to pass the site- unlike at the new school were we weren’t even allowed inside the gates to see that there were no locals working there.

  2. Jenny April 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I think it is very important to support local business, and if that means giving guidance on how to tender for the bigger projects so be it. It is unfair on the small business owner to be squeezed out of a local job because of bureaucracy!

    • Reg Thomas April 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      One way to be fair to Scillonians would be to require any mainland tenderers to subcontract a set percentage of a contract to a local contractor or require a percentage of local skilled or unskilled labor has to be used on a project.

  3. Todd Stevens April 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

    The simple fact is that there is clearly somthing amiss. Wether that be lack of negotiation between the council and the funders, or oversight on our council officers to remember to push for locals to be used on these projects is not for me to say. I am simply speaking out to say that- we all can see hundreds of mainland tradesmen are getting all the work and locals are being completely left out. That is a fact. Best value?? It never used to be like this: Ennor close; Normandy; Branksea; the airport extension are all big projects done by locals in the past. Whatever the council are doing now it is not inclusive of locals and this needs to be re-addressed.

    Personally, I am a joiner by trade and am fully employed in the production of doors windows and staircases etc for Blackwell builders on behalf of the duchy who do keep us very busy and our thanks go out to them for supporting us -and many others about these islands. Even though I am busy in this work I cannot fail to speak out for others who may be struggling, but will not say so.

    The strand shelter roof was avery small project that I played a very small part in. I did not work on the roof.