Government construction unit head addresses industry issues

Construction Implementation Unit (CIC) President Gordon Jenkins makes a point at a recent Council meeting in Suva.

The head of Government’s Construction Implementation Unit (CIU), Shah Mohammed has met with the Construction Industry Council (CIC) to discuss issues of common interest.

The 10-member CIU was established under the Ministry of Economy after TC Winston last year, to oversee efficient rehabilitation works around the country.

“Something we did was re-define project tender specifications to allow for contractors to use alternative options for building materials, which is why we included the term “or equivalent” in our contracts,” said Mr Shah.

The Ministry of Economy’s Construction Implementation Unit head, Shah Mohammed (right) discusses issues with CIC members in Suva.

He said this also opened up the local market to other “credible suppliers, breaking the previous practice of exclusivity.”

CIC President, Gordon Jenkins urged members to take full advantage of the presence of senior Government representatives such as Mr Shah.

Mr Shah also supported calls by the CIC for tighter controls over accreditation and licensing of industry players.

“After TC Winston we noticed a lot of overnight construction firms setting up. This is why Government has opted to outsource directly to consultant engineers for all major projects, instead of dealing with individual contractors ourselves,” Mr Shah explained.

Mr Shah added that post TC Winston rehabilitation works also taught everyone a valuable lesson, and not to rely on traditional building materials such as cement, timber or steel.

“All these materials were out of stock. It’s time we adopted new designs and explored alternatives that incorporate sustainable and climate resilient materials like in Europe,” he said.

He said there was also an urgent need to “re-think the artistic aspect of the industry” which he adds is closely linked to training and education.