Our project team, which is responsible for site construction, a key link to complete the project, faces challenges as follows:
All the construction plans are submitted to the authorities for approval in Spanish. We should first win approval of the project developer to enter the site for construction. The project developer has raised high standards on safety during field work and is strict in acceptance check.
As we first entered the site for construction, it happened to be the rainy season in Panama. Thundershowers would last for three to four hours almost every day. According to the local law, we had to suspend work to take shelter from rain. Despite heavy schedule pressure, we had to lament our littleness before the downpours. When the rainy season is gone, the temperature would soar up to 36-40℃, a result of the typical tropical hot climate.
Since our construction site sits near the Pacific Ocean, gale howls from the sea. Hence, we have to be particular about safety guarantee in work high above the ground, such as the installation of roof panels and curtain wall panels.
At the seaside, the high temperature and high salt environment have raised higher requirements on the storage of steel components and miscellaneous fittings. We have to solve the challenge of fast rusting and damage of the steel components and miscellaneous fittings.
It is a knotty problem to unload, store and protect cargoes of over 300 containers in a limited space at the construction site.
We are upset at the low efficiency and proficiency of the local labor force. As we started to install the facilities, they didn’t even have the experience of aligning the steel columns and anchor bolt centerlines. They believed they could meet the standard by merely employing a line hammer to measure the perpendicularity of a steel column. Despite the schedule pressure, they would pick up the tools and leave at the quitting time. Sometimes, we have to keep a close watch on the crane drivers, in case they get off work earlier.
It is fairly complex in construction site management. In the peak period from mid November to late December, we had over 80 local workers and 40 Chinese workers operating simultaneously on the site in day and night shifts, involving diversified quarters, working procedures and stakeholders. This requires the site administrators have excellent communication skills, management ability, and quick response to emergencies.
The hoisting machinery and elevators have a high failure rate. The repair affects continuous construction. We have to buy small machines and tools to meet emergencies in the local market, although they are quoted at prices several times higher than those in China.
The logistics support is a demanding task, as it is to provide basic necessities of life for nearly 50 staff workers of the project team.