In response to enquiries received, informal observation and anecdotes, the management of the Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) formed the opinion, during the year under review that a substantial demand exists among Jamaicans in the Diaspora for a dependable home building service. Available information suggests that the provider of such service should be able to facilitate the construction of private housing solutions for interested persons in readiness for their retirement or when they otherwise return home to Jamaica. Furthermore, the market seems to comprise several segments but indications are that demand is greatest in two where the Bank could have the greatest impact:
- Persons who have acquired land, completed building plans and have some relationship with a contractor but are wary of remitting funds to undertake the project, largely due to the fear of being swindled;
- Persons who own land but need professional assistance to undertake the necessary next steps to build their desired housing units.
Management deduced that the nature of the support required by the Diaspora is best delivered via a new product, and obtained the approval of the Board to begin offering the Diaspora Home Building Services (DHBS). This is a project management type service under which the Bank has firstly, established a panel of professionals:–
- Quantity Surveyors
- Land Surveyors
- Clerk of Works
- Land Appraisers
Professionals were invited to participate in the programme and required to submit certain documentation as a basis for inclusion on the panel – resumes, bank references, testimonials from their clientele, evidence of registration with their respective regulatory/professional bodies (as appropriate), proof of certification, etc.
Secondly, in each case, contractual arrangements are established between JMB and the Client, and between each Professional and the Client, depending on the need identified. JMB then refers Panelists to the particular Client and coordinates the contractual arrangements between them, from Requests for Proposals (RFPs) up to and including project implementation and delivery/handing over. Whilst maintaining the extant reporting relationships within the JMB, specific management and direction of the project management service delivery comes from the Technical Team residing within Bank.
The DHBS provides for the following:
- Referral to members of the Professional Team (Panel)
- Coordination of service delivery between Client and Professional
- Contract Supervision between Client and Professional
- Project implementation/management, including:
- Budget sign-off
- Schedule sign-off
- Drawings review
- Bill of Quantities (BQ) Assessment
- Regulatory approvals
- Construction monitoring
- Quantity Surveyor (QS)/payment certificate take-off and verification
- Payment requisition and disbursement
- Periodic reporting
- Close-Out and delivery
Fees & Service Levels
The initial consultation and professional referral from JMB is free of . charge. However, each element of the service delivery suite is competitively priced with associated delivery timelines clearly articulated and forming part of the agreement between the Bank and the Client (and between the Client and Professional). All fees attract GCT and range between 5% and 8.5% of the overall project cost. Also, the fee structure comprises fixed, variable and non-refundable components – dependent on the service choice of the Client.
Marketing & Promotion
JMB made a “soft launch” of the DHBS at the Diaspora Conference held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Montego Bay in June 2015. The Bank will partner with Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Diaspora Conferences/Groups and other partner agencies who have established relationships with the Diaspora communities especially in the United States/North America and the United Kingdom to market and promote the service. We believe our best advertisements will take the form of endorsements from satisfied Clients as we eliminate the horror stories usually associated with attempts by members of the Diaspora to construct houses in Jamaica.
As may be expected, certain conditions which serve to protect the parties involved form part of the contractual arrangements. The JMB is pleased to state that we are currently engaged in the first project under the new product. We are currently in the pre-construction phase and are as eager to see to its completion as our first Clients under the programme are to receive the key to their new home on the Rock.