Findings from the deliberations of the Public Works Ministry two-day Engineering Conference have tasked the Ministry to review some of its current technologies and policies, Minister of Transport and Hydraulics Robeson Benn said during the conference’s interactive sessions.
The Works Ministry is one of the main agencies, which executes large scale road and bridge works, and sea defence construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation works across the country, said Rickford Lowe, Head of the Work Services Group.
According to Minister Benn the Ministry received a budgetary allocation of $13.2B this year and much needed and appreciated support continues to come in from international developmental partners.
To provide durable effective structures the employment of the most suitable technology is needed. However, varying engineers and scholars in the field have different views on what the “most suitable technology” is in the execution of projects.
Though, building sea defence is not new to Guyana within recent years the Ministry has been exploring the application of new technologies including rip-rap construction and marine mattress and the enhancement of previously used ones such as groyne.
The usage of groyne as a sea defence structure at certain sections along the coastline came in for serious scrutiny as industry experts refuted it. According to them, the technology was used in the past and it was proven unsuccessful. Although, the argument was accepted, engineers noted that if the technology is implemented properly it will work.
Minister Benn said that the construction of groynes is worth exploring, but “we need to identify the sediment sizes that are trapped outside the groyne.”
He reminisced, “In the old days where you had groyne you had beach going out a kilometer or so.
When the material stabilizes you had a complete eco-system developing with mangroves.”
Though many arguments were not raised about the technologies used to construct roads and bridges, experts agreed that University of Guyana students should be exposed to pre-cast concrete works.
A vital area explored by the conference was the costing model for contractors since they are responsible for the direct execution of works.
Leon Goring, Hinterland Co-ordinator of the Ministry, during his presentation, said that the lowest qualified bidder is usually awarded the contract and this was unpopular among some participants.
They noted that the lowest bid can very well be a ballpark figure, contradicting an earlier statement by Goring claiming that lax contractors usually give high prices because they know that it is unlikely that the contract would be awarded to them.
The participants argued that when contractors propose the lowest bid sometimes they find themselves in difficult financial circumstances. It is amplified with the client taking a long time to deliver on payments.
The delay in payments result in the delay of the project, as a consequence the contractor gets penalize for liquidation damages.
Minister Benn stated that after the presentation and deliberations on that topic, the Ministry has to review the model and perhaps previous models can be used as case studies.
This is the second Engineering Conference. It ended yesterday.
The forum allowed engineers and experts in the field to deliberate on technologies and policies that are being implemented.
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