Nu 850mn proposed for construction of three ministries’ offices

The new MoWHS guidelines will be implemented for the construction of new public offices

The government has approved the construction of the offices of three ministries: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the 12th Five Year Plan.

The government has formed a task force team to study the proposals for construction of new office space in the 12th plan and it has completed a study on existing office space and rationalizing of new office space.

The minister for work and human settlement, Dorji Tshering said that the outcome of the task force team was readjustment of existing office space and office space guidelines.

Lyonpo said that readjustment of office space is analyzing of office space according to suitability of the requirements.

“However it is very subjective because they may say that they have plans in the future. The readjustment of office space will continue,” said the Lyonpo.

Lyonpo said that the second out on office space guideline is very much in line and suitable for Bhutanese context.

The ministry has already approved the guideline.

Lyonpo said that the immediate plan for construction of office space during the 12th plan is three ministries’ office space.“There are more than 25 offices’ constructions proposed from Thimphu and other regions too.”

“We will try our best to decongest Thimphu by taking the ministries’ office construction to the outskirts of Thimphu town. We will try to locate the offices in the periphery of Thimphu,” said the Lyopno.

However, Lyonpo mentioned that the budget for construction of these office buildings is not yet finalized.

The senior architect under Department of Engineering Service, Tshering Norbu also said that the cost will be calculated upon the office space required for particular agencies.

He said that the cost may go up or down from the proposed budget from individual agencies.

Business Bhutan learnt that the ministry of education and ministry of agriculture and forest has proposed budget of Nu 300mn each and ministry of foreign affairs has proposed Nu 250mn for the office building constructions.

Lyonpo said that these three ministries required immediate new office construction because the education ministry office building is old and life span of office is over which is very risky.

Ministry of agriculture and forest office needs to demolish their present building and ministry of foreign affairs office space is being shared with the parliament house, Lyonpo added.

Lyonpo mentioned that with the guidelines the cost of office construction would be minimized.

The guidelines state that its aim and objective is to promote equity among agencies in the utilization of space, allocate right space to right employee, cut down cost through effective utilization of space and to set as a reference point in approving the space for all government office buildings.

The guidelines state it will be applicable for construction of new office buildings and renting private buildings for office use. Additionally, the types and size of the work space depend on the types of personnel or employee. Different personnel or occupants performing different activities require different work space to execute their task. Based on the nature of office functions, the work space can be categorized.

For instance, for ministers, secretaries, chairpersons or equivalent office allocation required enclosed workstation, conference, pantry, attached toilet, personal assistant, personal secretary and waiting lounge work space of 29.25m2, 315ft2 will be allocated.

For dzongda, director general, director, commissioner or equivalent required enclosed workstation attached toilet and personal assistant the space required is 22.18m2, 238ft2  and for Dungpa, dzongrab and cheif required enclosed workstation and attached toilet space required is  13.86m2,150ft2.

For division heads, specialist or equivalent required enclosed workstation and for mid-level professional, junior level professionals, secretarial, administration, clerical, seasonal part time and intern required open workstation is required.

For deputy, executive, mid-level the space requirement is 9.3m2, 100ft2, for inspectors, technicians, assistants officer space requirement is 7.4m2, 80ft2 and for secretarial (administration) group space requirement is 6.5m2, 70ft2.

In the 12th plan the construction of embassies are also approved.

The budget allocated for construction of Bangkok embassy is Nu 344mn, for Bangladesh embassy renovation and construction Nu 122mn and for construction of consulate office at Kolkata budget allocated is Nu 40mn.

Even as the government is being drained of huge money for construction of offices, basic amenities like roads receive a major part of the budget too. But authorities say it is not enough. 

This story is a follow up on the BMF investigative grant story on cost of public office construction.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu