12 February 2018

Ethiopia: The Construction Road-Map in Straightening Knotty Issues in the Industry


With conviction Ethiopia has thrown its full weight behind catalyzing its all -rounded shift from a sluggishness development and penury. And as such , pertaining to its current posture as many eyewitnesses attest, no more an eyesore, this ancient country that set on the road of renaissance is turning into the jewel of the continent.

In this multifarious and unexampled image-reversal move, the construction sector is one of the sectors basking under the government's focal attention. Laudatory achievements are accentuating the thrust towards a rosy future. The country is busy building dams, airports,railways, roads,ring roads and concrete jungles, among others.

In the Mega projects Ethiopia is using state-of-the -art technologies. Similar efforts are also being made in other branches of the construction industry.

Despite such a great leap forward, it is not unusual to hear complaints voiced against the quality of some buildings that exhibit quality problems.

"I am optimist that such sad episodes will be reversed and a paradigm shift ensues. The shift could start with asking 'Why do we compromise with quality?Why projects can not be completed on time?Why projects are not cost effective?' "

Worse still some suffer fracture and sinking problems before they begin rendering service. Here it suffices to take the one in Jemo site.

It doesn't also come as a surprise hearing civil servants complaining about some problems apparent on new buildings built for them.

Such problems are ascribable to not conducting through feasibility studies,changing design after a construction work is afoot either for unforeseen reason or, regarding design fickleness on the side of the client governmental body, having designs made by inefficient engineers or architects or persons who go by the name engineers without having the necessary qualifications.

Also attributable among the problems are ,not checking the quality of inputs,not occasionally conducting on the spot-survey or guidance and lack of follow up works. Also not keeping our engineers abreast with modern technologies through training account for the problem. Protracted working procedures also causes tardiness in works of government owed buildings. Though much is spent on buildings built as a government offices playing the role of a client,the buildings see completion belatedly.

As the adage goes "Haste makes waste!" some officials,unknowingly, prevail on engineers to finish works before the slated time. Cements need curing period. Fixing a deadline without taking technical matters into account must be stopped. As professionals on the field put it "Sometimes governmental want to complete a project in a 12 -month time taking the budget year as a framework!"

The challenge is also ascribable to the unhealthy relation between contractors and engineers of the client governmental bodies. Contractors oil the palms of the later so as to compromise qualities oblivious to, rather careless of, the negatives that attend the problem. As their lust for unwarranted fortune makes them blind both parties get inured to the crisis their evil act inflict on the nation's economy. They can't see the risk their action courts on the life of citizens in the long run. They fail to ask themselves

"What if the buildings collapse?At later time will I be held accountable for my careless or unethical action? Must I put my interest atop at the cost of harm to the nation's sustainable development?"

Approached by journalists to have his say on the matter a civil engineer who wanted to be anonymous said"For instance,once regulators come to conduct strength test on sites for government buildings,they will never come back again for a surprise check-up or follow-up test. Some irresponsible contractors who are aware of this fact are seen taking advantage of the situation."

In addition to gurranting perfection in the construction industry, our quality controlling laboratories of construction materials must be furnished with ultra-modern facilities. Qualified professionals must be deployed at every layer.

Also the safety issue of workers, who engage in the sector braving all odds including doing works standing on high-elevated scaffolds and things that accidentally fall from towers, must also be taken into account. While the country is striving to change the lives of citizens for the better citizens must not be subject to damages that surface for want of a working environment that ensures safety.

To ensure the sustainability of the quality assurance work the role of higher learning institutions offering education in the sector is decisive.

Universities had done a lot of studies on why set conditions are not met. All parties in the construction sector including clients,consultants,contractors,governmental institutions and financiers are accountable for failure to complete projects on time,for substandard quality and for undermining safety issues"

Such logjams must be circumvented to make the country's march towards socioeconomic deliverance sustainable.

" The most important umbrella to keep the quality of some activities is to have a certain sort of guidelines and legal frameworks. Therefore,we have raised the issue of how to go about in the newly prepared construction road-map" experts on the sector say.

Hopefully the country shall see a construction industry that addresses the aforementioned setbacks.


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