Caribbean Construction Update 2018

Resort Pic

As we move into 2018 the Caribbean Construction sector is looking healthier than it has done for some time; the picture is patchy, with some regions short of work, and other regions experiencing very strong demand for construction services, particularly in the resort and infrastructure sectors. Overall the picture is good. This year we’ve seen construction professionals with previous experience in the Caribbean region – particularly in site management, project management, and quantity surveying – in particular demand, because of their track record of delivering projects in the region.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused massive damage and tragic loss of life to parts of the Caribbean region; particularly the British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands, and Dominica with damage caused to a lesser extent in the Turks and Caicos Islands; the Eastern Caribbean south of Martinique generally escaped major damage. We’ve seen several assignments registered specifically to deal with restoration and rebuild following the hurricanes, with property owners and contractors making appointments relating to rebuild and refurbishment. At the time of writing (December 2017) most superficial damage at larger resorts has been repaired; however on the smaller islands, where niche / smaller / independent resorts operate, the picture is less good and damage was often very extensive; we expect repair, restoration and rebuild to start – in some cases - in 2018 and run beyond the end of the year.

One of the main questions that we are asking at Thatchers is; has the region now reached a tipping point last seen in 2005 – 2008 where site managers, superintendents, project managers and quantity surveyors who have no overseas experience will being considered on the basis of their “home” experience, skills and qualifications. James Griffin - Senior Caribbean Construction recruiter at Thatchers commented

“Caribbean construction experience does carry a premium in the region, however many employers in the Caribbean are now looking at a candidate’s specific job role or project experience regardless of location, combined with the likelihood of gaining a work permit, ahead of experience working in the region. Clients are confident in their order books and are planning their staffing for the coming years ahead rather than staffing for one off projects. I’d encourage construction professionals who are interested in working in the region to make contact; but please provide a covering note describing your situation! Schooling for dependent children often poses problems, even on the larger Caribbean islands, and unmarried partners will not be granted visas unless they can gain one on their own merit”.

If you are looking to hire staff in the Caribbean, or if you are interested in exploring construction and property opportunities in the Caribbean, please get in touch.