The Ministry of Construction is able to control contractors through their websites, according to Le Quang Hung, director general of the Ministry's Department of Construction Works Quality Appraisal.
What are the new ideas introduced in Decree 15 compared with those in Decree 209, issued in 2004?
The Ministry of Construction (MoC) is now in the process of revising and issuing a number of legal documents, including Decree 15. I must say that the decree plays a very important role in improving the works' quality and increasing the efficiency of investments.
The new decree contains three new ideas. They are: First, to consolidate the state's role in controlling the quality of construction projects from the design stage to the quality appraisal stage.
Second, to conduct more frequent inspections of the contractors' capacity and behaviour. The government is entirely capable to control their capacity through their websites, as these websites are supervised and managed by MoC.
And finally, to impose severe administrative sanctions on the contractors if they fail to comply with the contracts. In serious cases, the contractor will be banned temporarily or eternally from construction bidding.
In the future, all contractors will have to take a preliminary test before bidding for contracts.
Could you elaborate on the increasing role of the state in controlling the quality of construction projects?
In the past, the project owner took sole responsibility for the appraisal while the government took "general responsibility" for the whole project.
Take, for example, the collapse of the Nam Dinh TV antenna tower. Following the collapse of the antenna, the government management agency asked a series of questions relating to the safety of the tower, such as whether the wind direction was included in the calculations during the design or whether the technical design met construction standards.
To rectify these weaknesses, Decree 15 details the responsibility of each participating agency – from the project owner to the state management agency.
For project with investment capital coming from the state budget, an additional condition is added on, i.e. money saving during the construction process.
What about information disclosure for the contractors?
According to the Enterprises Law, enterprises are free to engage in whatever business they want to. That's why it is imperative for contractors to disclose their companies' information and construction capacity on their website so that anyone who is interested can assess them. Of course, these websites are subject to the control of MoC. — VNS