It has been found that lack of professionalism, inadequate technical, managerial, and financial capacity of local contractors and consultants, unemployment, and poor enabling environment are some of the deterrents that have impeded the growth of the construction sectors today.

This has necessitated an overarching policy to guide development of the construction sector. Works and human settlement ministry has proposed and initiated development of an inclusive sustainable construction industry policy.

According to the policy’s draft concept note, the sector is confronted with several challenges that impede its growth.

Despite interventions from the government to foster and improve the construction sector, it was found that the growth of the sector has been only in numbers and not in competence or in professionalism.

Today, the construction sector employs over 3,866 contractors and contributes about 16.86 percent to the Gross Domestic Product. It employs 3.2 percent of the labour force. Government appropriations reveal that about 60 percent of the total outlay is allocated for procurement out of which 80 percent accounts for procurement of construction works.

The main objective of the policy is to develop the construction industry as a key employment generation sector, to professionalise the industry, improve quality of construction in both government and private construction and to improve coordination and collaboration within the public and private sector.

In both the private and public sectors, the draft stated that some issues such as lack of specialised contractors that leads to limited and unprofessional competition has resulted in poor quality of work, budget-over runs, and failure to complete the work on time. This also contributes to poor quality of work due to lack of comprehensive procurement capacity, inadequate number of experienced national engineers, as well as shortage of unskilled and semi-skilled national labour force.

Growth in the construction industry over the years has not translated into equal creation of jobs and the lack of a clear overarching construction policy has affected provision of clear directions for the sector.

The concept note states that the development and implementation of this policy will strengthen the capacity of the construction sector, improve coordination, regulation and development of the construction industry. It also aims to put in place an effective institutional framework to address the current weaknesses in the construction sector.

The proposed policy will address shortcomings in development of professional work force in the public sector and create job opportunities at all levels. The policy will also provide clear policy direction and support initiatives that are environmentally sound, innovative, uses green technologies, local construction material and local human resources.

The policy was shared at the first consultation meeting with relevant stakeholders on January 31. Most participants agreed that there was a need for the policy.

The next consultation is expected to be done in June.

Yangchen C Rinzin