It also made 15 recommendations for agencies and stakeholders

Younten Tshedup | Panbang

As the rest of the country prepared to welcome the New Year with resolutions – new and old, ambitious and modest, the engineering fraternity including architects and planners committed their own resolutions yesterday.

The 10th engineers, architects and planners’ conference in Panbang, Zhemgang that concluded yesterday, adopted 11 resolutions, which would be implemented this year.

Officials from the works and human settlement ministry said that the resolutions are the prioritised commitments of the conference, which would be addressed by different agencies under the purview of the ministry.

One of the resolutions adopted was on the often-discussed issue of lack of safety measures in construction sites.

It was learnt that currently the occupational health and safety (OHS) measures were barely implemented in construction projects.

Officials said that this was because the costs for such measures were not adequately covered in the built-up rates of items. “More importantly, under the current system of bidding, the specific OHS activities are not clearly specified making it difficult for the clients to enforce it on the contractors,” an official said.

The conference decided that the cost required to cover safety measures need to be separately estimated and reflected as a separate item in the bill of quantities (BoQ) of bidding documents.

The procuring agencies also need to prepare safety plans and checklist of safety activities, which the contractors have to implement. Penalty clauses will also have to be clearly spelt out in the tender documents.

It was also decided that the traditional method of recording details of measurement in the measurement books would be immediately replaced by construction manager software (CMS) in all the construction projects under the ministry.

Participants shared that the decision would enhance the effectiveness of the workforces with the introduction of automated system of record-keeping.

To create job opportunities in the sector, the conference decided that procuring agencies would have to design resource requirements of both personnel and machinery matching the nature of project.

Officials said that the move would create employment for the fresh engineering graduates by lowering the over projections made in the past.

To address the issue of ghost engineers, it was decided that Construction Development Board (CDB) would carry out the registration of all engineers in June 2020.

This would curb illegal use of certificates and create jobs for the engineers in the market, officials added.

The engineering council, once established, would strengthen the registration carried out by the CDB, besides carrying out certification and accreditation.

It was also decided that trades and firms such as plumbing, carpentry, masonry, and electrification could form groups and register as a firm with CDB. These firms would be allowed to participate in the bidding process to quote their own price in agreement with the principal bidder.

Three regional laboratories to ensure and implement quality assurance and quality control would also be established in Lobesa, Punakha  Sarpang and Lingmithang in Mongar.

The facilities would be equipped with standard laboratory equipment and staffed with qualified and competent technicians to provide testing services to all government procuring agencies.

Officials said that currently one of the biggest constraints is the non-existence of such facilities at field level where it is required on a daily basis.

In addition, all the nine regional offices of the Department of Roads would also be equipped with basic testing facilities.

Officials from the ministry said that only those resolutions, which were found critical and practical were adopted so that it could be implemented at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the conference also adopted 15 recommendations, which would be further pursued by agencies and plan actions and reviews in consultation with all the stakeholders involved.

It was recommended that all procuring agencies would have to establish a review committee for design and supervise consultancy works.

To encourage employment of national workforce in construction projects, the participants recommended that the procuring agencies would have to pilot some of the contract packages with mandatory requirement of 100 percent national workforce in project implementation.