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22.10.2008 General News

Procurement Law Stifling Engineers' Work — Duncan Williams

By Francis Xah -

Mr J.V. Duncan-Williams, former president of Institute of Engineers, has said the Procurement Act is stifling  the work of engineers. This is because officials are increasingly demanding specialist type  works to be done within  unreasonable time periods.

“If we are talking about intelligent and sustainable buildings, then this area of the procurement procedure is stifling excellence and innovation and promoting mediocrity,” he said. He ws presenting a paper on “Intelligent and sustainable building”, in Accra yesterday at a ceremony to commemorate the 39th World Standards Day.

Mr Duncan-Williams urged local Government authorities to ensure compliance with regulations and should be adequately resourced.

The  Day is celebrated annually to pay tribute to the thousands of experts worldwide who collaborate to develop voluntary international standards to facilitate trade, spread knowledge and disseminate  technological advances.

This year's celebration was under the theme: 'Intelligent and sustainable buildings'.

The Minister for Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative, Paapa Owusu-Ankomah, said  Ghana  needs to adhere to the Inter-

tional Organisation for Standardisation  mandate.

The  mandate requires that commercial, governmental and residential buildings meet standards in terms of fire resistance, floods, natural disasters and accessibility for the disabled.

He asked property owners, building designers, architects, engineers and relevant government authorities to work harmoniously in developing  and constructing  safe, sustainable, and energy efficient buildings.

Paapa Owusu-Ankomah said international standards applicable to today's buildings, increased efficiency, optimised resources and simplified the design and planning of buildings.

He said the application of those standards would ensure improved technology, competitively priced products and construction work, higher quality, safety, and reduced accidents in the construction industry.

The Minister underscored the fact that the application of internationally best practices required that Ghana establish or modernise relevant  pieces of legislation and technical regulations, and reform the management of technical institutions in the field of standardisation, inspection, resting, and certification.

He expressed concern about the seeming lack of clear strategic focus and close collaboration amongst the regulatory institutions and said a policy framework was being put in place to formulate clear and transparent national standards.

The implementation of the new policy, he said would lay to rest the seeming overlaps in roles and mandates of the regulatory institutions.

The Executive Director of the Ghana Standards Board, Adu Gyamfi Darkwa, earlier in a welcome address, said managing urban infrastructure was a major challenge for policy makers in view of the expected  world population increase by 2.5 billion by 2050.

He said the International Organisation for Standardisation had outlined some 17,000 international standards and other types of normative documents to serve as benchmarks to guarantee energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings after construction.

Mr Darkwa said even though there were Standards, regulations must be enforced, as the building regulations of the country were not being enforced resulting in the construction of buildings without any standards.