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9 Tips For Project Owners

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Mr Mohammad Patel (not real name) decided to build some shops and flats. He did not want to engage a contractor because he thought it will cost him a lot and so he decided to employ some labourers to do the job for him. Since he had to attend to his business, he instructed his nephew to be on site to check that everyone was working and that materials were not being stolen or misused. Barely after a year of completion, the buildings started developing big faults and Mr Mohammad Patel continues to spend a lot of money in maintenance costs.

In another case, an NGO decided to build warehouses for rural farmers and some classroom blocks for a certain rural school. The organization engaged two separate contractors to do the works which were to be completed in 8 months. After 18 months, the works were still not completed and the contractor for the classroom blocks had abandoned the works and could not be traced while the contractor for the warehouses was still struggling to complete. The organization had however paid both contractors the whole amount of the contract sum. It was later established that the contractor for the warehouses was not registered with NCIC and therefore was operating illegally. The organization was therefore held liable for abetting an illegal activity. It was also established that the contractor for the warehouses, though registered with NCIC, was however registered in a lower category and did not have the requisite capacity to competently undertake the works he was engaged in. Unfortunately, the NGO did not have any professional person to competently supervise the works and they had relied on the expertise f the contractor.

These are some examples of the many challenges and misfortunes that befall project owners from time to time. However, such challenges and misfortunes can be avoided if project owners follow the necessary but simple steps when implementing the projects. Here are 9 important tips for project owners to take note in order to ensure successful completion of projects:


“Ignorance is not an excuse!!”

Make sure you are aware of the regulations, policies and procedures governing the industry before implementing any project. If in doubt, please ASK!


“Sure is steady. If not sure, do not spend.”

Never start your project without a clear source of funds. This often results into unpaid debts and labour disputes. Always plan properly.


“Beware of unscrupulous “contractors!”

Not all “contractors” are legitimate. Make sure you obtain evidence that the contractor isregistered with NCIC.

Benefits of engaging registered contractors are:

  • You will be acting within the law
  • Registered persons subscribe to a code of conduct which ensures they exhibit the highest standards of professionalism.
  • Registered persons are monitored and subject to discipline to ensure they provide the best quality service to their clients.


“Let a professional check the work for you.”

The Compliance Regulations require a certified professional with full professional indemnity cover to supervise all professional work. The benefits of this are:

  • It makes the professional supervisor liable for quality issues and eventualities on behalf of the client;
  • The client’s needs are professionally handled without posing a risk to the project;
  • It gives opportunity to the client to concentrate on other businesses.


“A stitch in time saves nine”

Pay contractors and consultants in time in order to avoid making it difficult for them to progress properly with the work. Delayed payments eventually create several problems on the project.


Cheap methods cost more.”

Avoid acting as a contractor on your own project. It might seem cheap to employ labourers but you risk having poor quality work and eventually spend time and resources attending to defects and workers welfare.


“Be counted. Only the guilty hide.”

Clients are required to register their projects with NCIC within 21 days of commencement so that they benefit from the monitoring services provided by NCIC. Registration forms can be obtained from any of the NCIC offices in Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre.


“Loyalty pays. Be faithful to your obligations”

Every client is required to withhold 1% from each payment made to a contractor and consultant and remit the amount to NCIC at least within 30 days. Failure to do so is an offence and may attract a penalty.


“Exalting the good and exposing the bad improves performance”

Report any cases of poor or good performance and conduct by a contractor or consultant to NCIC for possible redress. NCIC has an obligation to monitor the performance and conduct of contractors and consultants in the construction industry.


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