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Construction projects require major quality improvements

Update: June, 02/2014 - 08:45

Burst water mains have been disrupting life in the capital for some time now. Pham Sy Liem, Vice President of the Viet Nam Construction Association, spoke to Hai quan (Customs) newspaper about the issue.

The Vinaconex water supply system had earlier received the "Gold Cup for its Construction Quality" award. But, this is the seventh time the pipe has burst and, as of today, the company has not determined what is causing the problem. What's your position about the incident?

Normally, when an incident occurs, the three factors people often think about immediately are - the construction position; the installation materials and the construction process.

Among these factors, the first one was identified as the weak soil condition by the project owner - Vinaconex corporation. However, there are two factors Vinaconex has not mentioned . At present, the Ministry of Construction has asked the Department of State Quality Verification of Construction Projects to work with other agencies to conduct an investigation to determine what are the causes of the incident. Only when we know what are the causes, then the culprits will have to take responsibility before the law.

In reality, the Vinaconex water pipe burst is not the only case in our country. Quite a few construction projects have been seriously degraded following their inaugurations. In your opinion, what are the main reasons leading to the poor quality of construction projects?

Using sub-standard construction materials has been a chronic issue in our country for many years. I'm afraid to say that, so far, we have not found any effective remedy for this "disease."

The use of poor quality construction materials does not only cause losses in the construction process, but also a big waste and errors in the planning period, as well as in investments, project quality and others.

Poor construction quality is often accompanied by a negative phenomena and corruption. It is a burning issue in our country at present. What can we do to improve the situation?

To ensure quality projects, the first thing we have to do is to ensure that the project bidding process follows standard procedures. This is the only way we can eliminate collusion between project owners and bidders.

However, in reality, collusion between project owners and contractors is reported here and there in our country. As a result, the quality of quite a few projects are poor, and even very poor.

Which agency is in charge of project quality?

The rights and obligations of all parties involved in construction projects have been well expressed in the law. They are the project owners, contractors and designers, as well as others.

Following investigations conducted by authorised agents about the reasons for the low quality, the investigators will then decide who has to compensate others for their poor performance. But in Viet Nam, sometimes, following the inauguration ceremony, a project becomes an orphan.

How can we overcome such weaknesses?

First, we should raise the awareness about law enforcement among people working in the construction sector.

Second, we need to have a clear job description for each party involved in the project, ranging from the project owner to the contractor, project supervisor and construction supervisors, as well as others.

And finally, online information disclosure must be practised by project owners and contractors so that anyone who is interested in any project can easily follow it. — VNS

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