No matter how well a building or item of infrastructure meets its design brief, it will have failed the sustainability test if it is allowed to fall into disrepair over time. Projects commonly end at the “handover” stage and like machines, if they are not provided with planned, on-going, post-completion maintenance, they eventually end up as an unusable waste of precious resources and effort. There are many examples of this unfortunate occurrence throughout Africa.
All BCI projects are conceived with their sustainability firmly in mind. We will select reliable, durable low-maintenance materials and products, combined in an aesthetically pleasing, uncomplicated design, minimising the risk and incidence of damage and break-down.
The skills and labour required for project maintenance will be provided by local employees and sub-contractors trained via the BCI “Hands-on” Skills Training Programme. This will provide skills not only for our projects but will also maximise their employment prospects generally. This approach is in line with the Africa Skills Initiative convened under the umbrella of the Word Economic Forum’s Global Challenge on Employment, Skills and Human Capital.
Apart from training, the BCI Maintenance Programme will provide clear local language, written and video instruction, replacement products, repair materials and the necessary tools, held in trust and managed by selected community leaders. This will also engender trust, cement and safeguard our reputation.
African governments have long held the view that many international companies (especially from western countries) have not done enough in the area of training and skills transfer, such that local economies have not derived sufficient employment benefit. This is now being written into many joint-venture agreements and represents one of the major goals of our initiative.
Together with BCI Manufacturing Associates and local governments, we will explore the possibility and feasibility of setting up manufacturing facilities in Africa for future projects. This will enable further cost reductions and increase affordability, eliminate ocean transit time and promote skills development and employment in Africa.