Dechen Dolkar 

Walls of the Phuentsholing vegetable market is already showing cracks and breakdowns just three years after it was built.

 Expansion joints and curtain walls, wall tiles, and ceiling are falling apart, it was found. The construction of the integrated vegetable market was awarded to Gayjur Construction Company Private Limited in January 2017. It was completed in January 2019.

The construction of the market cost Nu 79.4M

It has now been found that the estimated cost of construction was high and the contract amount too low—92.44 percent below the actual estimate, which indicates that was something wrong.  

The thromde was found to have made excess payment of Nu 640,794.87 for Dense Bituminous Macadam (DBM) and Asphaltic Concrete (AC) road works. The contractor was paid Nu 2.9M for providing and laying 60mm thick DBM and 40mm thick AC

According to the general conditions of contract’s (GCC) section 27.1, the quality assurance plan should specify the work methodology, quality control tests, and intervals for such tests in accordance with the work specifications for each item of the works.

It has now been found that the project engineer failed to carry out core test of bituminous layers.

The thromde also made excess payment due to incorrect preparation of analysed rate for item RW0021 of Nu 542,298.94

The additional work for item RW0021 includes the transportation of loose spoil materials in designated locations, including loading and unloading. However, the site engineer made extra payments beyond the rate.

The project management had paid Nu 357,863 as 30 percent bulking for all kinds of soil.

Bulking can be applied only if soil is classified with scientific soil strata studies. Since it involves huge cost, bulking was not allowed in spoil material transportation.

The project management should have recovered the payment for 30 percent bulking from the contractor.

The contractor was paid Nu 78,120 for providing stone soling under plinth protection, which is not admissible. The thromde also made excess payment of Nu 350,102 for CRM wall at the integrated vegetable shed due to the variation in CRM wall height.

The joint physical verification of electrical works for the integrated vegetable market showed an excess payment of Nu 60,976 by the project management.

An audit team with thromde officials on May 18 last year found that the cracks on expansion joints were sealed with plaster. They also found cracks had developed on the concrete block brick curtain wall.

The property management manual (PMM) clause 5.1.1 states that the head of the department or agency shall nominate an officer independent of the property officers concerned to conduct physical verification of properties at least once in a financial year.

Such verifications are undertaken to establish ownership of properties, verify the actual existence of properties in accordance with the book balances and verify the existence of any lien or encumbrance on the properties.

Cracks on expansion joints, curtain wall, and the damaged eave ceiling overhang are construed as construction defects.

Officials from the thromde said that expansion joints sealed with plasters had developed vertical cracks due to expansion and contraction of the motor and cracks have developed on the concrete block brick curtain wall due to the thin section.