An investigation by the National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) into the K288 million dyke constructed in Nsanje has faulted the consultant who withdrew the engineer from the site before the final phase was completed.
The substandard works on the 823 metre dyke were noted when Vice-President Saulos Chilima, as minister responsible for Disaster Management Affairs, two weeks ago visited the site and expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of the works.
Chilima, as champion of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST), asked NCIC to investigate the circumstances surrounding the construction of the dyke being managed by the Shire River Basin Management Programme which is under Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.
The consulting engineer and supervisor was BRL Ingenierie/Aurecon while Mitondo Civil Engineering were contracted to complete civil works on the dyke.
The report to Chilima, which The Nation has seen, indicates that the consultant is not registered and lack of supervision led to the use of soil instead of gravel to finish off the works.
NCIC has recommended an assurance study on how the contracts were awarded because they were surprised that Shire River Basin Management Programme engaged an unregistered consultant when they were aware of requirements for design and construction of infrastructure projects.
In the report dated February 12 2018 signed by the executive director Linda Phiri, NCIC notes that while the dyke was done to the specifications of the consultant, there was no supervision and this attributed to poor workmanship.
“The consultant’s engineer claims he has been supervising the site on fulltime basis and issued instructions on how to progress with the final phase. However, if the consultant’s claims are true, how could he allow the constructor to proceed using top soil instead of the recommended gravel?” the report findings read.
NCIC also found that BRL Ingenierie was not registered as a consultant in the construction industry and were operating illegally.
However, NCIC said the dyke was operational and had warded off flash floods since it was constructed.
NCIC gave the contractor Mitondo, 10 days to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against them while BRL Ingeniere was given 10 days to process the registration with the council.
After the investigation, NCIC issued an order to Shire River Basin Management Programme stopping all construction works on the site until a registered consultant could provide supervision.
A letter to the Shire River Basin Management Programme project coordinator dated February 12 indicates that the stop order would be lifted upon submission of satisfactory evidence of registration.
The programme’s communications specialist Horace Nyaka said the consultant had since submitted application documents to NCIC and a supporting letter would follow.
Efforts to seek information on whether the contractor had responded to the findings of the report were not successful as the NCIC executive director did not pick calls after repeated attempts. n