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Official Gazette

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Tougher control for construction work quality

Updated: 17:35’ - 26/04/2013

The Government has issued a decree on the management of the quality of construction works with new regulations to control their quality and prevent loss and wastefulness in investment capital, especially in State-funded construction ones.

Strengthening state management

A new point in Government Decree No. 15/2013/ND-CP is to enhance supervision function for state management agencies (provincial-level Construction Departments) in construction investment projects from the stage of survey and design to the stage of test before acceptance.

In an interview granted to the Construction Newspaper, Doctor Le Quang Hung, Head of the State Authority for Construction Quality Inspection, said under current regulation, investors were responsible for managing the quality of construction works from the stage of survey, design and construction to the stage of test before acceptance and state management agencies grasped general situation and only stepped in whenever incidents occured. He cited the broken Dakrong 3 hydropower plant dam in Ta Long commune, Quang Tri province, and the collapse of an antenna tower of Nam Dinh TV Station as typical lessons. Only when the incidents had occurred did state management agencies notice the poor quality of these works. Hence, the new Decree specifies that for construction works affecting the community’s safety, their technical designs must be appraised by investors and their safety be verified by state management agencies.

According to the Decree, state management agencies will verify the designing organization whether it meets conditions to be allowed to design; the appraisal and verification whether they are properly carried out and the quality of construction works. For state-funded construction projects, state management agencies will examine their designs whether they ensure the efficiency of investment. This Decree stipulates the control taken right from the design stage with a view to raising the quality of construction works and saving investment costs.

To intensify sanctions of violations is also a new point in this policy (amending Government Decree No. 23/2009/ND-CP dated January 27, 2009, on sanctioning of administrative violations in construction activities; real estate business; exploitation, manufacturing and trading of construction materials; management of technical infrastructure; and management of housing and office development).

Accordingly, when violations of this Decree’s provisions are detected through inspections or reported by organizations and individuals, state construction management agencies must timely request related organizations and individuals to remedy their violations, and propose the handling in accordance with the law on administrative sanctions in construction activities. Apart from remedying their violations at the request of state construction management agencies and being penalized as prescribed by the law, violators will have their names and violations announced on the websites of state construction management agencies.

When construction works are detected to fail to meet quality requirements and face the risk of being collapsed or to have unsafe construction methods, state construction management agencies are entitled to suspend construction and allow construction to be continued only when investors and contractors assure safety.

Hung also stressed that enhancing the state management will help clearly define responsibilities of related parties whenever an incident occurs. Organizations and individuals involved in the appraisal, verification, approval, test before acceptance and supervision of construction works will be responsible for the results at the level of their involvement. If state management agencies authorize consultancy organizations to conduct verification, authorized units must take responsibility. However, verifications by state management agencies will not reduce the responsibility of design contractors for their designs of construction works.

Enhancing inspections of the contractors’ capacity

Enhancing inspections of the contractors’ capacity and activities is also prescribed in Decree No. 15. This Decree specifies that contractors verifying construction designs and construction quality testing must register information of their capacity.

Contractors are currently free to engage in whatever business they want and register their practice so their capacity can not be appraised and only investors consider their capacity when construction works are built. Even individuals in charge of design are approved based on their declarations without being appraised or tested so their capacity fails to meet requirements in some cases. According to this Decree, contractors’ capacity and activities must be disclosed on websites managed by specialized management agencies - open ones that anyone can access and send feedbacks about contractors.

Under the new Decree, contractors must publicize information about projects they have implemented on the websites. Investors will rely on this information to mark bidders. According to President of the Vietnam Construction Association Tran Ngoc Hung, construction work quality largely depends on investors’ decision to choose bidders. Thus, the control of contractors’ information will weed out weak bidders. Once good and prestigious bidders are chosen, the quality of construction works will improve.

The disclosure of information on the capacity of construction organizations and individuals is stipulated as follows:

- Organizations and individuals providing state construction management agencies with information of their capacity in the construction field via mail or directly to be publicized on these agencies’ websites.

- Within 30 working days from the date of receiving information from organizations and individuals on their capacity, state construction management agencies will be responsible for considering and deciding to publicize the information on their websites.

- Information on the capacity in construction activities serves as a basis for selecting organizations and individuals for verifying construction designs; construction testing; supervising, verifying and appraising construction works quality; surveying, designing and building state-funded special, first, second and higher grade construction works (for principal contractors).

It is difficult to control contractors’ capacity as contractors are currently not forced to register their capacity with state construction management agencies. With this regulation, information on contractors’ capacity is expected to be thoroughly and gradually controlled. Initially, information on a number of design verification, appraisal and testing contractors will be publicized online and followed by information on contractors implementing state-funded construction projects and important projects of third or higher grade.

Organizing testing before acceptance

Construction items that need to be tested before acceptance and hand-over; conditions, process, time, forms, minutes and other documents and people involved in the test before acceptance and hand-over of construction items and completed construction works must be clearly written in construction contracts between investors and construction contractors, according to the new Decree.

Furthermore, in necessary cases, investors will specify the test before acceptance for important construction stages of the projects. Completed construction items and works are permitted to be put into use only after they are tested by investors as regulated. The test before acceptance of the following construction works and items by investors must be examined by state construction management agencies before putting into use. They include:

- Individual houses of seven or more stories;

- Apartment buildings, public works, power transmission lines, hydropower plants, thermopower plants, metallurgy factories, alumina factories, cement plants of third or higher grade;

- State-funded third or higher grade bridges, tunnels, and roads and second or higher grade works using other sources of capital;

- Non-graded works being toxic solid waste treatment works, oil refinery and gas plants, depots and petrol, oil and liquefied gas pipelines, dangerous chemical production plants and depots, industrial explosives manufacturing plants and depots, railway and airport works, docks, waterway ports, telpher systems, reservoirs, flood discharging spillways, spillway culverts, supply culverts, canals, closed water pipes, hydraulic tunnels, dykes, embankments, pump stations and other irrigation works.

This Decree took effect on April 15, 2013, and replaced Decree No. 209/2004/ND-CP and Decree No. 49/2008/ND-CP. The Ministry of Construction will soon issue three circulars guiding the implementation of this Decree. They are on design verification by state management agencies and verification and appraisal by investors; guiding provisions of the Government’s Decree No. 15/2013/ND-CP on the construction process and design survey; and decentralizing the state management of works.-


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