The National Consrriction Indusrty Council (herein reffered to as the Council) was established by an Act of Parliament in 1996 to regulate, promote and develop the construction industry in Malawi. The Act (Cap 53:05 of the Laws of Malawi) clearly stipulates the powers and functions of the Council and its operations, therefore, are confined to the same.
The Council has taken note of sentiments from some professionals and members of the public expressed in different fora and also reported in various media channels accusing the Council of not doing anything with regards to substandard infrastructure in the country. Such sentiments have gone as far as alluding that the Council certifies work and authorises payment to contractors for the work done. One specific example of such are remarks made by Mr. Henry Kachaje during the Public Affairs Commmittee indaba held in the recent past in Blantyre. Although such sentiments may seem plausible, they are misrepresentations and a clear indicator of misunderstanding of the Council’s roles and functions as well as the roles of parties involved in construction contracts.
It is against this background that the Council wishes to clarify its role and clear the apparent misconception that members of the public might have with regard to Council’s powers in the implementation of construction projects in the country.
DEVELOPMENT PLANNING AND APPROVALS
The Council is not party to the decision making nor approval of infrastructure development plans within the country. It is, therefore, not in a position to guide nor dictate on the type of infrastructure that can be constructed at any particular place in the country. This responsibility rests in the respective city, town and district councils in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act and other relevant instruments.
PROCUREMENT PROCESS AND CONTRACT AWARD
The Council is not party to infrastructure projects budgeting and neither is it party to the procurement process undertaken by implementing organizations (called Procuring Entities under the Public Procurement Act (2003)). The procurement process is supervised by the Office of the Director of Public Procurement.
SUPERVISION AND CERTIFICATION OF WORKS
The Council is not mandated to supervise construction works of any project and is not responsible for certifying nor making payments for work done. The client or implementing organization is required to ensure that it has engaged professional consultants with the relevant skills and expertise to supervise the day to day construction activities and check the work of the contractor in order to ensure that the work is done in accordance with the contract specifications, time and cost. It is these consultants that are also responsible for certifying the work done by contractors and recommending payment of the same to the client who makes payment upon satisfaction with the certified work.
MONITORING THE CONDUCT OF CONSULTANTS AND CONTRACTORS
The extent to which the Council plays its role in ensuring quality control on construction projects is dependent on the mandate that the Council has on the conduct of the consultants and contractors. The Council has the power to exercise discplinary control over the conduct of consultants and contractors. All consutants and contractors found culpable of wrong doing are taken through a disciplinary process in accordance with laid down procedures. The results of this process may lead to suspension or de-registration of firms or persons found guilty of wrong doing; as the case may be.
However, the Council can only effectively perform this function only if clients comply with the following requirements:
- Registering construction projects with the Council;
- Engaging consultants and contractors that are registered with the Council;
- Refraining from being contractors and consultants on their own projects.
- Respecting contractual provisions as stipulated in the contract in terms of roles and obligations of each party to the contract.
COUNCIL’S EFFORTS IN ENSURING QUALITY CONTROL
In line with its current mandate, the Council has made tremendous efforts in ensuring that projects are carried out with utmost consideration to safety, health and welfare of the public. These efforts include the following:
- The development and implementation of Project Registratioin Regulations aimed at improving the ability of the Council to monitor the performance of construction projects;
- Advocating with local councils for a permanent representation in the relevant technical committees in order to collaborate with the councils in the planning, development and monitoring of infrastructure;
- The imposition of disciplinary sanctions against contractors and consultants found guilty for ethical and professional misconduct;
- Issuance of stop orders on projects that are found to be undertaken in contravention with relevant regulations;
- Continued engagement with the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) on the development and enforcement of relevant standards for the construction industry;
- Continued engagement with key stakeholders on the minimum acceptable procedures for implementation of projects.
REVIEW OF THE NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ACT
The NCI Act was drafted and enacted in 1996 when the industry was relatively small and less dynamic as is now. The industry has overtime grown and advanced in both size and technology which has in turn created unforseen challenges in the implementation of the Act in its current state. This necessitated the review of the Act in order to ensure that it adequtely address the demands and expectations of the industry presently, and in the foreseeable future.The review process is currently underway.
The Council wishes to inform all clients, media houses and the general public that it pursues an open door policy and therefore requests all interested parties to verify with the Council any information or issue concerning the Council, the construction industry or its members before making statements that may mislead members of the public.
Linda M. Phiri (Ms)
Chief Executive Officer
National Construction Industry Council (NCIC)
Private Bag A146, Lilongwe
Tel: (265) 01 725 523/529/564
Fax: (265) 01 725 535