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ENGINEERING THE CONSTRUCTION FRONTIER IN FACE OF CHALLENGES

By Angela Ashong , PE Media
Fri, 05-May-2017, 14:18
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Insight from one of Africa’s Awards winning contractor Rockson Dogbegah – Must read Article

 

Whiles there has been eternal bludgeoning of systems and ineffective policies enough to run the sea dry, shrivel initiatives and put an unending damper to any entrepreneurial undertakings, there haven’t been enough or better yet any pragmatic solution from savvy experts to curtail the problem inherent in the construction industry.  

 

Rockson Dogbegah, the CEO of Berock Ventures Limited had more than enough to say on tenets in the construction arena. Doubling as the chairman for Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Vice President of Chartered Institute of Building, Africa, the problems coherently voiced but shoddily handled was riddled in his speech.



African Property Awards 2017, London -Registration Ongoing



 

With the existence of Berock Ventures for over 25 years, progress has been a laudable one with the benchmark for excellence and professionalism in the industry from the proverbial small beginning. With corresponding high profile award of contracts for the construction of some significant edifices such as Gateway Service Limited scanner block, ICT Park in Tema, National Blood Centre, Korle-bu, National Petroleum Authority’s Head Office and a few others, they have endeared themselves and registered their prowess and professionalism in the industry.

 

Speaking on the journey so far, Mr, Dogbegah said it hasn’t been too bad with some ups and downs. ‘The frustrations in the industry from the day we entered some twenty five years ago still exist. Issues of regulation and adequate policies, funding, human resource management, enterprise development were quite popular in his submissions. For him, the problems integral in the construction industry is purely premised on the defective nature of policies in the sector. Ferreting out solutions for some of these problems was quite an enlightening one.

 

The presence of these hindrances has stifled the progress of growth agenda to accelerate development in the sector. Local industry players aren’t given apt attention to support government development agenda. It is has become an unappealing venture for most youth who are looking forward to making money in the shortest possible time, particularly women who believe it is the preserve of men, hence its sole male dominance.

 

Those who are originally passionate about the industry visibly lose interest and try their luck elsewhere. “Most people who trained as construction people are now venturing off into unrelated construction areas like banking”. We need lots of attention from all stakeholders”. Vital among them will be the need to have a construction development board to grow and develop the sector with the sole task of dealing with enterprise issues, championing issues of providing guarantees to consumers of services and regulate the capacity of contractors in ensuring they are given contracts they can readily handle by their ability. “We have instance where a contractor is given too many jobs eventually making work suffer and rendering clients unable to determine whether the contractor has the capacity for the work”.

 

Alternatively, trades people need to be duly certified to have a more robust and effective system to work in to avert gruesome leading to collapse of buildings and subsequently doing the appropriate things needed. Policy intervention such as delayed policy act is needed in this country for local contractors to thrive and maintain good customer relations and not be put in bad light by the clients.

 

With this act, it becomes an offence not to pay a contractor just in the nick of time. Defaulting could invariably mean the contractors capacity is destroyed if they cannot pay back loans from banks in due time, making them unattractive.

 

Health and safety issues and its corresponding acts also needs to be reviewed and replaced with something more skewed to the construction sector as the risk in such ventures are quite real and disconcerting. Stronger laws will definitely be a booster to make workers on construction sites feel a lot safer than heights and movement of heavy machines can fester.

 

Also, the replacement of price fluctuation formula currently in use will mean much to the ordinary contractor. In that, this formula means to compensate contractors in price adjustment so they don’t lose, this formula generated by statistical service is seemingly not compensating contractors enough to make profit out of their trade. Making funds available before projects are even awarded will practically on his take will as make the job easier for contractors with early payment as the cherry on top of the cake.

 

Need for construction mentorship scheme and getting indulging in effectively training workers and labourers on improved services might put a lid on having to outsource work to neighbouring countries. Citing instances where his company had to get masons from Togo to come and construct the ceiling of his building was rather tough to handle for him.

 

The endless list of policies to redress the malfeasances and incompetence in terms of policy adjustments are just a tip of the huge iceberg of things not working right in the construction sector. Moving forward, Mr Dogbegah hopes for a much more fluid system where everything works perfectly.

 

By Angela Ashong

PE Media

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