CAB to propose Govt. to allow utilization of equipment in 5 sites

According to CAB, the government needs to revisit the specialized equipment which is not specified by the CDB as specialized equipment

As per the Construction Development Board (CDB), one machine already engaged for one contract work is reflected as engaged while used for another bid. In that way, those bidders with limited equipment lose chances to participate in the second work.

However, during the 19th annual general meeting of CAB that was held earlier this month in Thimphu, contractors unanimously decided to propose to the government to allow equipment categorized specialized equipment such as graders, hot-mix plants, pavers, tendum rollers, excavators, which can do multiple works to be engaged at least in five sites.

The discussions also highlighted the need of rationalizing the requirement of equipment, especially high-end types of machinery for project requirements. According to CAB, the government needs to revisit the specialized equipment which is not specified by the CDB as specialized equipment.

In addition, many issues and challenges in the construction sector were also discussed. The issue included the tendering process evaluation where the contractors proposed to award a work based on the estimates instead of evaluation based on the financial and technical scores.

The Executive Director of the CAB informed that the evaluation based on 70-30% was requested by CAB during the tenure of the previous government. It was decided that this issue of the tendering process evaluation, would be taken up to the Department of National Properties (DNP).

During the meeting, CAB also discussed the realization of contract duration, where rationalization of contract period was highlighted. Discussions evolved around hindrances in work due to monsoon and also in high altitude weathers. It was resolved that the matter would also be put up to the DNP.

Concerning the procurement rules and regulations, and Standard Bidding Documents, the participants said it was found that most government agencies use Bhutan Schedule Rate (BSR) as a means of payment for additional works and variation, which in some cases are much lower than the market rates.

For this, CAB decided to appraise the government to keep the same rules and regulations for the projects under the government. It was also decided that the government would be appraised about additional works or new items, wherein the rate should be based on the existing consensus from both parties.

On cost escalation, current practices of the government rate are decided every year. However, it was endorsed that CAB would request the government that the construction materials and labor cost should be reflected separately in the BSB and the rates should be fixed within three months.

Further, the AGM saw discussions and the need to appeal to DNP regarding the direct award of works to the Build Bhutan Project (BBP) and maintenance work to a specialized firm as it affected the local small contractors.

During the meeting, it was also approved that a chairperson, the Dzongkhag Liaison Committee (DLC) be an observer instead of the tender awarding committee. It was decided that this would be put up as proposal to the Dzongkhag Level Tendering Committee (DLTC). Another discussion included the need of increasing the contractual threshold for different categories of construction firms.

The need for training and enhancement of relevant construction fields by relevant agencies was also highlighted during the meeting. And it was decided that a proposal to this effect would be put up to the relevant government agency that training related to the construction industry be coordinated by CAB.

Meanwhile, some proposed to request the relevant agency to let the small class contractor participate in the community contract, while, some other contractors proposed to completely do away with the community contract.

The members also shared the concerns of Bhutanese contractors not being able to participate in international funded projects. Here, the participants decided that the government would be appraised not to break down the budget of international funded projects as it affects the capacity building of the local contractors.

The AGM was held at the side-lines of the Construction Expo that saw business houses from as far as Mumbai in India participate. The Expo has been conducted after two years due to the COVID 19 pandemic. While the Expo is seen as one meant only for contractors in Bhutan, Sonam Dorji, a resident of Thimphu said that the Expo also facilitated people from outside.

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu