The National Procurement and Tender Administration Board continues to ignore recommendations to award public works contracts to the bidder whose bid is 15 percent above or below the engineer’s estimate.
This is according to an engineer of the Public Works Ministry, who said that, that is one of the reasons why so many projects are experiencing delays.
An Engineer’s Estimate is a detailed cost evaluation for a project. It is used by the contractor to determine how much material is needed to execute a project. An inaccurate estimate could affect the duration and cost of the project.
The engineer explained that the engineer’s estimate for foreign funded projects is determined by the international design consultant. And, for nationally funded projects the engineer’s estimate is prepared by engineers of the Ministry.
According to the engineer, the Ministry, which has a presence on the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, has often recommended that the contractor’s bid should be above or under 15 percent of the Engineer’s Estimate.
“But, there are times when you have it varying by as much as 40 percent below the Engineer’s Estimate,” the engineer said.
He said that bidding is a competitive process with contractors trying to place the lowest possible bid to secure the jobs.
“There are so many contractors out there trying to secure jobs and some of them come in at very unrealistic rates just to secure the job…The problem is that, at the end of the day they cannot complete the job in a timely manner professionally, and engineers have to be on their backs to get quality,” he stated.
“If you are outside of the 15 percent bracket we don’t feel you would be able to complete the job. But at tender board we are having problems going ahead with that…We have recommended this,” the Engineer added.
However, the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board always say that the contractor with the lowest evaluated bid would be awarded the contract, even if it is 40 percent below the engineer’s Estimate. In addition, the Tender Board considers if the contractor is technically capable to execute the work.
“It’s one of the reasons why we are having a lot of projects delayed and you have to be on the contractor to do quality projects because they try to shortchange you,” he said.
According to the engineer, there are times when the Engineer’s Estimate is inaccurate with differences in quantities and results in the need for the procurement of additional materials. However, error in determining accurate fill materials needed for a road project could be explained, he said.
Giving an example, he said that while the contractor was installing wick drains and surcharge on the East Bank Demerara Public Road four-lane widening project it was realized, the quantity for the surcharge was inadequate. As such, that is currently being addressed.
The engineer said that if there are not enough funds available to cater for extra works, the Ministry would have to seek additional funding from Government to continue the project.
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