Why 120 Chinese engineers are here
By OFANI EREMAE
CHINA Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has strongly defended its decision to bring in 120 Chinese engineers for the construction of the Pacific Games facilities.
The workers arrived last Sunday and are currently undergoing their two-week quarantine requirement.
“We need this lot if we are to complete the stadium project within the next two years,” CCECC general manager Huang Pengfei told Island Sun in an interview.
“This is a project of huge proportion,” Pengfei added.
“It is going to occupy 26,000 square metres of land with seven different facilities.
“Building a sports stadium is highly technical. This is why we need these engineers to be right here on the ground so that the work-flow is not disrupted.”
Pengfei was responding to public criticism of the arrival of the Chinese workers.
CCECC chartered Solomon Airlines to bring the workers in, ahead of the start of construction next month.
China is funding the project at a total cost of around $2.5 billion.
“I believe those who criticised our decision to bring in more than 100 engineers do not understand the technicality, scale and magnitude of the stadium project,” Pengfei said.
“If they do, they would understand why we bring in all these workers.
“These engineers are here for specific roles and they’ll be the ones leading the construction.
“Among them, there’ll be supervisors from other consulting engineering firms we engaged to supervise the work and ensure it is rightly done.
“Remember, we only have two years to complete a huge project that would normally take three to four years.
“Also remember that we are required by the Chinese Government to build and deliver a stadium that is of international standard,” Pengfei said.
He added, Solomon Islanders – both skilled and unskilled – would also be recruited.
“We will be recruiting up to 300 locals in this project. This will be done on a gradual basis.
“When construction starts next month, we may take in the first 50. We will advertise these vacancies.
“So there will be job opportunities for Solomon Islanders,” Pengfei stated.
Furthermore, he said the decision to bring in the 120 workers was not that of the Chinese Government, but CCECC’s as the contractor.
“We came up with this number based on our analysis and the need to get this project done within two years,” Pengfei said.
CCECC has been in the country for the last four years, engaging in a number of infrastructure projects.
According to Pengfei, they were awarded the contract to build the stadium based on their local experience.
“I’ve been here in the last four years and I already knew well the people and the landscape.
“I believe together, we can produce a quality stadium project within the timeframe.”
Pengfei said this is not his company’s first stadium project.
“We’ve built sports stadiums in Asia and Africa.
“Closer to the Solomons, we’ve built the sports stadium in Vanuatu that was used during the 2017 Pacific Mini Games.”
While the majority of materials will be imported from China, Pengfei said they would also purchase locally.
He said they are also in the process of negotiating with Guadalcanal landowners for sand and gravel.
As for food for their workers, Pengfei said these would all be sourced locally.
He said they expect to complete the project in May 2023 – a month just before the Pacific Games kick off.