The construction of the Hilton Freetown Cape Sierra Hotel has accelerated. The structural frame of four out eleven floors of the Tower (West) Block have been completed. Work is also progressing on the first two floors of the Low (East) Block.
Looking Back on 2015
2015 was a challenging year for the project primarily due to the impact of Ebola. The early part of 2015 saw the gradual return of the expatriate staff of our contractor, Shapoorji Pallonji as confidence returned that the risk to personnel was manageable. Shapoorji kept the project going during the period of absence of their expatriate staff by employing the services of local subcontractors who carried out the earthworks subcontract. The other challenge faced by the project was the excavation of the huge rock forma on in the basement area due to its inherent strength.
2016 – The year of visible progress
Fast forward to February 2016 and on the Tower Block we have completed structural frame of the Lower Ground, Upper Ground, Mezzanine and the First Floors (the first of eight guest accommodaAon floors).
The pace of construction of the remaining floors will now increase as the floor-to-ceiling height of the accommodation floors is less than that of public areas on the Lower Ground, Upper Ground and Mezzanine Floors. This means that the columns can be cast in a single pour rather than double pours as was the case for the lower floors.
Work has also started on building the internal block walls on the Upper Ground Floor of the Tower Block.
The Low Block will have six level including the Basement Floor that will be used for water storage and staff facilitates. The Basement Floor exists only in the Low Block.
The structure of the Basement and half of the Lower Ground has been completed.
Higher Building Higher Crane
As the Tower Block got higher it became necessary to increase the height of one of the two cranes. In an innovative and complex operation, the self-raising crane added another three sections to its structure, increasing the overall height by a further 12 metres to 35 metres.
Shapoorji will shortly erect a passenger hoist to carry workers, visitors and materials to the higher floors. This will also increase productivity.
As the pace of construction increases the need for a greater volume of concrete is also increasing. Sierra Concrete, the main supplier of concrete to the project based on the project site, has increased its capacity by installing of a new concrete mixing (or batching) plant with double the capacity of the previous plant.
Mock Up Rooms
Hilton’s approval process requires the construction of a Mock Up Room that is an exact replica of the standard guest rooms.
Shapoorji will construct two standard rooms with balconies, one with a king size bed and the other with two queen size beds. All room facilitates will be in working order to ensure thorough testing.
The internal partitions, fixtures and fifngs will shortly arrive in Freetown. A team from Hilton is expected to visit Freetown in June to inspect and approve the Mock Up Room.
Welcome Mackenzie Studd
We are pleased to welcome Mackenzie Studd, a Sierra Leonean owned Quantity Surveying company who have joined the project performing the role of Construction Contract Administrator. Mackenzie Studd have been in business for over thirty-nine years.
We continue to host visitors to the project site. Two teams from the project’s Lending Banks (FBN Bank UK and the Ecowas Bank for Investment and Development) together with the Banks’ Project Monitor visited to the site to review progress in November 2015 and again in February 2016.
The banks expressed satisfaction with the quality of the work and the progress achieved in between the two visits.
Delegations from the British High Commission and the American Embassy also toured the project in November 2015.
IDEA held a stakeholder event on the 17th December for a number of dignitaries and IDEA (UK) Shareholders. Dignitaries at the event included Hon Dr. Samura Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation; Mr. Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, NRA Commission for Domestic Tax; Mr. Idrissa Kanu, Director of Domestic Tax Policy at the Ministry of Finance and Prof. Victor Strasser- King, Senior Director, Strategic Policy Unit.
Other notable visitors to the site include Professor Monty Jones, Former Special Adviser to the President and a delegaAon from NASSIT led by Madam Yeabu Kamara – Chairman of NASSIT.
IDEA and Ebola Recovery
IDEA continues to support the Government’s post Ebola recovery activities. During the Ebola period, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, IDEA UK’s Investment Director, was seconded to the National Ebola Response Committee.
Yvonne’s contribution to fight against Ebola was recognized when she was firstly awarded a Presidential Gold Medal by His Excellency The President and then was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom.
Yvonne continues to support the post. Ebola recovery through her secondment to the Office of the Chief of Staff to lead the President’s Delivery Team on Transition and Recovery.
IDEA, in collaboration with Louise Chaytor, also recently sponsored and produced a documentary about the effort of Sierra Leoneans in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease from 2014 – 2015. The documentary is available on the IDEA website www.idea-uk.com
The focus now is on completing the structural frame of the remaining floors so that internal partitioning and the installation of mechanical, electrical and power services and fixtures and fittings can continue uninterrupted during the forthcoming rainy season.
At the same time work has started on the external works with the construction of a small section of the perimeter wall on the East side of the site, using the granite stones that are characteristic of the environment.
We conAnue to target the compleAon of the hotel by end 2016.