According to Uwe Putlitz, CEO of the JBCC, competence & commitment is vital for successful infrastructural development.
The success of a building contract for infrastructural development essentially requires competence and commitment by the parties in charge of the project, Uwe Putlitz, CEO of the Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC), has cautioned.
Uwe was a keynote speaker at the 5th International Conference on Infrastructure Development in Africa (ICIDA 2016), which was held at the University of Johannesburg in July this year. The conference was organised to explore infrastructure’s role as a driver for economic growth in Africa.
JBCC is a non-profit South African company which represents building owners and developers, professional consultants, and building contractors who provide input for the compilation of a comprehensive suite of JBCC building contracts, drafted to comply with South African conditions and legislation, as well as to ensure equitable distribution of contractual risk.
Uwe told the conference that although such formal contracts were vital for building projects and infrastructural development, the success of service delivery also depended on the competence of the users and the will to bring contracts to a successful conclusion within the defined scope and quality criteria, an agreed budget as well as a realistic time period.
“An experienced project manager, or team of project managers with different skills, is essential to see a building project through all of its phases and to ensure that critical decisions are reviewed and made timeously by corporate management or relevant authorities,” he states. “When this has not been done, the construction team may have to resolve problematic issues on site in a hurry. This type of compromise situation leads to delays and additional costs, and almost inevitably results in crisis management.”
To avoid such disruptive incidents, the project manager should at the outset have ensured that the project had been properly and practically designed, that the materials specified complied with applicable recognised standards, and that the material procurement processes were flawless. Potential personality clashes and competence issues should also have been identified.
“The issue of whether sufficient time has been allowed for statutory and other approval issues, such as Occupation Certificates, should also have been considered, and a specific quality management system formulated for the project in question,” Uwe says.
The project management team should be proactive to resolve defective work on site while dealing with administrative duties such as the preparation of drawings, maintenance manuals, product warranties and the formulation of final accounts for each subcontractor and for the works as a whole – within the period of time stated in the contract.
Uwe says avoiding potential disputes that could crop up in a building contract was another essential factor for the successful execution of projects. “In this regard, pertinent issues include ensuring that the correct information is conveyed to the contractor, identifying possible additional costs at an early stage, reaching consensus on delays to the project completion, dealing with late changes instructed by the employer or for statutory compliance, and late or non-payment by the employer,” he concludes.