In September 2017 Hurricane Irma was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands, Anguilla recording winds of 185mph. It left a trail of devastation, damaging key infrastructure and leaving a lasting impact on the lives of locals.
The Anguilla Programme was initiated in response to the devastating aftermath of the hurricane, aiming to address the urgent needs of the affected community. Under the Strategic Infrastructure Advisor appointment, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) requested consultancy services from Tetra Tech which included detailed construction designs, the development and implementation of tender documentation, as well as end-to-end construction phase supervision.
With a population of approximately 15,000 people, the Caribbean Island suffered significant damage to roads, housing, power grids, and healthcare facilities. Understanding the gravity of the situation, the UK Government allocated initial relief funds for the Anguilla Programme.
The Anguilla Programme Board was therefore created and met monthly to approve project business cases, monitor progress, and manage risks. Each project had a Project Sponsor from the respective ministry responsible for its delivery. The Anguilla Programme Management Office (PMO) provided policy processes and tools to ensure compliance with UK Treasury rules and GOA procedures. Local contractors were engaged and Tetra Tech project managers were happy to share their knowledge with them, something which became part of our lasting legacy from the project.
Rebuilding after the devastation
Tetra Tech Involvement
Making a positive impact to lives is a key driver for Tetra Tech as demonstrated by the One Billion People challenge and the Anguilla Programme is a perfect example of this commitment. In May 2018, following initial visits in March we commenced structural damage assessments of a building portfolio and cost benchmarking exercises, which laid the groundwork for informed design decisions.
The design phase began in July 2018, following building permit and planning approvals. From July 2019 onwards, the Stage 5 Construction Delivery Team was deployed to Anguilla to implement the projects. Although the Anguilla Programme was originally scheduled to conclude in line with the 2021 financial year, the unforeseen challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in the final facilities being handed over in January 2022.
Notably, Tetra Tech incorporated seismic movement joints into the design layout of schools and hospital projects, a new feature for Anguilla. Recognising the immediate benefits of this innovation, these seismic movement joints will now be incorporated into the Anguilla Building Code, enhancing the island’s resilience to future disasters.
The additional social value which Tetra Tech brought to the project by supporting local contractors through mentorship and training to enhance their technical knowledge, financial awareness, and skillsets will have an ongoing impact in Anguilla These skills will be carried forward to future projects for generations to come.
Challenges and Limiting Factors
Undoubtedly, the Anguilla Programme faced numerous challenges, including limited availability of on-island materials, the recurring threat of the annual hurricane season, time differences, and the unforeseen disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the PMO’s commitment to collaboration, problem-solving, and knowledge transfer among stakeholders helped overcome these obstacles. They introduced good practice instructional videos, coaching, and project management tools to improve project delivery.
Outcomes and Benefits
Ultimately, the Anguilla Programme achieved significant infrastructure improvements that have greatly benefited the local community. These included the construction and refurbishment of schools, healthcare facilities, government buildings, and transportation infrastructure. The programme also augmented emergency management response plans and increased the resilience of critical national infrastructure. The adoption of best practices and improved governance procedures contributed to ensuring value for money and fostering the development of project delivery skills within the public service. Through these efforts, empathy and compassion were central to the programme’s approach, acknowledging the importance of supporting and empowering the affected community on their path to recovery.
The programme was also recognised by the Association of Project Management, who awarded Tetra Tech and Government of Anguilla the 2022 APM Social Project of the Year award.