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Engineers should take note

WE hope that the Association of Consulting Engineers of Zambia (ACEZ) has taken note of concerns raised by Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Ronald Chitotela about sub-standard works on some of the completed projects by local contractors.
The ACEZ promotes quality conformity to ethics and integrity by its members.
However, Government has noted with grave concern the substandard projects carried out by some of the local contractors.
Mr Chitotela wonders how structures built over 40 years ago are still firm and standing while those built much more recently are showing signs of serious wear and tear.
The reason is simple: most of our contractors are care-free and not get concerned about what happens to the buildings for as long as they get paid.
Yet, the projects are funded by tax-payers who want to see that these projects stand the test of time.
This is why tax-payers get disappointed when they see buildings or roads built in the 21st century cracking or totally collapsing yet those erected during the colonial era are still standing virtually unblemished.
Apart from sub-standard works, this country is also awash with abandoned projects by get-rich-quick contractors who have no passion for their profession.
With innovation and research in the construction industry improving at a rapid pace, citizens and Government expect to see buildings and roads not only stand the test of time but built efficiently.
In fact, innovation should also lead to construction of cost-efficient projects.
However, short-cuts have led to many buildings being structurally unsound and this leaves many people wondering whether learned engineers were involved in the projects.
It is clear that some of our engineers do not comply with the required technical code requirements.
This is so because those responsible for inspecting projects do not perform their roles.
Yet, Government has provided a framework for management and maintenance of projects, which ACEZ members should adhere to.
Failure by local contractors to adhere to well-defined standards and professional code of conduct has led to blacklisting some of them.
It is time ACEZ took introspection by ensuring that its members conform to ethics and integrity, otherwise Government and the private sector will be compelled to start hiring foreign contractors.
We are glad that despite some local contractors putting up substandard work, Government has not given up on local engineers.
Instead, the State has put in place measures to facilitate skills transfer by ensuring that foreign contractors undertaking government projects sub-contract some work to local contractors.
This is practical demonstration by Government to empower locals by involving local engineers, architects and quantity surveyors in designing and supervision of various public infrastructure projects.
We urge our engineers to be above board in executing projects because they cost a lot of money.
Besides, every engineer worth his or her salt should care about the reputation of doing a sub-standard job or abandoning projects.
There are several engineers out there waiting for jobs and engineers failing to abide by the professional code of conduct stand to lose out.