International property developers, The Resort Group, have selected BIW Technologies (BIW) to deliver Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications to support design and construction of two luxury resort developments – Tortuga and Dunas, worth a total of €100m (AU$197m) – on the island of Sal in the Cape Verde Islands. Zavanti are Australian distributors for BIW’s SaaS project control and collaboration solutions.

The web-based platform will support communications across a multinational team of consultants spread across the UK and Spain, as well as contractors working on the sub-tropical island in the Atlantic Ocean, off West Africa.

Rob Jarrett, Chairman of The Resort Group says, the company is essentially creating new towns on what are currently sand dunes next to the sea. These schemes will set a standard for future developments in Cape Verde and, as well as being creative and innovative in their design and construction, The Resort Group wanted to demonstrate technological excellence in the project management systems they use. BIW will help us coordinate information and manage key business processes and costs in real-time, introducing the concept of web-based working to this developing market.

Construction of the beachfront Tortuga Resort, set in a 75,000m plot situated on the south-west coast of Sal, is due to start after a ceremony in early January 2009. The development includes 52 luxury three- and four-bedroom villas, 306 two-bedroom apartments and a five-star hotel, all set in extensive landscaped grounds. Facilities will include a 150-seat restaurant, a wine bar and piano bar, courtesy and lounge areas, luxury spa and gymnasium, two communal pool areas and a variety of shops.

Also starting on site in early 2009, the neighbouring Dunas development is on a 147,000m² plot, almost twice the size of Tortuga, allowing a slightly lower density of accommodation. The scheme has some 695 luxury properties, including 67 detached villas and 628 apartments with a choice of one, two and three bedrooms, plus communal pools and relaxation areas. A five star hotel, bars and restaurants, spa and gymnasium, tennis courts and shops will augment Dunas' tourist resources.

Cape Verde has few natural resources, only four of the ten main islands support significant agricultural production, and so its economy is service-oriented, with the government keen to welcome foreign investors and develop tourism opportunities.

However, building new resorts on a remote island presents a number of major challenges as outlined by The Resort Group's construction director, Darren Lees: "First, we have to ensure that our developments have excellent sustainability credentials. We are working closely with Birmingham-based sustainable development consultant EmissionZero to ensure that delivery and operation of our resorts won’t harm some of the unique natural characteristics of the islands – which include beaches where sea turtles come to lay their eggs. Our designs include sophisticated grey water recycling, photo-voltaic arrays and state-of-the-art approaches to ventilation."

The Resort Group’s project team also includes principal consultant HCP, architect SpaceStudio and quantity surveyor Locus (both based in Birmingham), engineer Halcrow Yolles, mechanical and electrical engineer Hulley & Kirkwood, and contractors San Jose and Loid Engenharia.

Darren Lees continues, "Second, it is vital that our developments help create sustainable communities. We will be helping fund new infrastructure including roads, power generation and distribution, telecommunications, and waste management, working with the Sal islanders to create manufacturing and services businesses, and looking to build a legacy of local construction skills and expertise – including IT know-how – that can be employed on future developments in Cape Verde.

"Finally, these developments have to stack-up financially. Our investors come to us with high expectations and we are committed to creating the resorts on time and on budget and to the high specifications we've set out. The BIW platform gives us great auditability and control, so we can constantly monitor the projects' progress and ensure they are completed on time and on budget."

Tortuga is due to be completed in 2010 and Dunas in 2011.

Software–as–a-Software (SaaS)
In the SaaS model, a software vendor develops a web-native software application and hosts and operates the application for use by customers over the internet. Customers do not pay to own the software itself but rather to use it. The SaaS model allows BIW to deliver online business applications to support successful delivery and management of built assets.