Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Numerous buildings in the capital city show signs of cracks, leaks and blistering soon after construction has been completed, raising questions of construction quality management, Tin tức (News) newspaper reported.
The conditions were noted at several buildings constructed for public use, including apartment complexes, schools, and hospitals, causing concern amongst citizens.
According to Trần Kỳ Sơn, chief inspector of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, it is essential that when a construction incident is reported, its cause, level of damage, and the part of the process in which it happens is clearly identified.
It will help authorities decide which party should be fined, or whether the case should be transferred to agencies for further criminal investigation.
There are four parties directly related to the construction process, including the investor, the design agency, the contractor and the supervising agency, whose responsibilities are clearly regulated in the construction law, he said.
The media need to highlight the issue, creating pressure so that construction investors take responsibility and penalise the contractors involved, he said.
According to Dr Nguyễn Việt Hùng, former director general of the Bidding Management Department under the Ministry of Investment and Planning, if construction incidents happened during the construction process, not the design process, the first-level responsibility belongs to the contractor.
The second-level responsibility belongs to the supervising agency, since without strict supervision from this agency the contractors will not complete the construction in a way that ensures good quality.
One of the temporary solutions for the situation is that all related agencies, at all levels and sectors, take great responsibility in complying with the 2014 Law on Construction and other Government regulations on managing construction quality and budget, he said.
Construction experts said that all related parties must take responsibility for the quality of the construction, not only during the warranty period but during the whole cycle of the project.
Discard low-cost packages
Dr Trần Chủng, former director general of the State Department for Construction Quality Assessment under the Ministry of Construction, said that low-cost construction packages and short construction time would not result in high-quality constructions.
According to Chủng, the problem does not lie in the method of construction bidding, since in countries with developed market economies where this method is used, constructions remain of good quality long after being built.
It was because those construction agencies gave high priority to protecting their reputation and would not accept low-cost construction packages that might not ensure the quality of the construction, he said.
In Việt Nam, construction bidding takes place with the rule “lowest bidder wins the package”, which has been shown to affect the quality of several constructions, according to Chủng.
There were buildings which, during the construction process, were expected to last a century but must be either rebuilt or replaced after only 20-60 years. Those that were expected to last 15 years must be restored after only five years.
The money saved from hiring low-cost construction units cannot compensate for the high cost that this restoration process requires.
It did not only damage the construction agencies’ reputation but also caused citizens to lose trust in the general construction process, Chủng said. — VNS