The Sweett Group is on track with a major hospital build project in Casablanca, Morocco, reports Ian Armstrong, director of project management.
The consultant clinched the Morocco project in May 2010, when design had already been underway for some time. “We were appointed to review the situation, so we went out to Casablanca to see the designers and meet with the end users. Upon consultation, we worked through the budget.
“We reduced it by 40%, which meant it was viable, and within nine months we had a detailed design. We went out to tender and got a contractor onboard, and this is where we are now, in month 11 of a 24-month construction period,” confirms Armstrong.
The Morocco hospital is a 132-bed, five-star healthcare facility that will include accident and emergency, diagnosis and treatment of oncology and cardiac care, eight operating theatres, a special burns unit and a women's and children's department, inclusive of paediatrics and maternity.
Armstrong said that Morocco posed a particularly challenging environment to work in. “It is a different environment, and they follow different standards. In addition to that, they lack the professions and expertise we have.
“In order for the project to be a success, we had to educate and bring in international managers and professionals to manage the process.”
Armstrong adds that there are 900 workers onsite at present, with the project celebrating a million man hours without any accidents - a major milestone for the Moroccan construction industry.
“Obviously we have a strict health and safety regime. The way we got the workers to understand the importance and relevance of this was to educate them.
“The throughput to get us to where we are now has been huge. We had massive training sessions in order to instill this health and safety regime.”
Armstrong said that, together with main contractor Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Sweett Group approached the project as a legacy development.
“Our approach was to turn this into an opportunity. On behalf of the Khalifa Bin Zayed Foundation (KBZF), we are delivering a phenomenal gift from H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the people of Morocco.
“However, we can also give them our own gift: the gift of good health and safety practice and standards, which they will then hopefully take onto the next project,” says Armstrong.
Read the full site visit in the next issue of Construction Week magazine.