Roads Authority (RA) says it will engage Plem Construction Limited on the need to improve designs of the 140-kilometre Chikwawa- Chapananga-Mwanza Road as suggested by Vice- President Saulos Chilima on Monday.
RA chief executive officer Engineer Emmanuel Matapa said in an interview yesterday that despite a consultant coming up with a design in collaboration with the authority, the contractor was also at liberty to review the same.
“The consultant does the design, that’s correct, but then the contractor being an experienced one, has the capacity to review and say no this direction will not help us and then make some improvements and submit to us which never happened,” he said.
Matapa said in the current situation, RA will take the responsibility to advise the consultant to review the design and put it back to the contractor to rework on it. He said since Plem Construction Limited will have some aspects to do on the road, it will be at their own cost.
His explanation followed a position by Plem Construction Limited managing director and board chairperson Mohan Krishnan that as contractors, they did not design the road as per procedures in the bidding process; hence, they are not responsible for the designs.
He said: “A client makes the designs and drawings by engaging the consultant and those are given to the contractor who is successful in a bidding process. So, for that reason, I don’t know how far we can go to do the redesign.”
On the way forward Krishnan said they will consult RA and ask them what contribution they can make. Krishnan said they will
Krishnan yesterday insisted that they were not given any chance to revisit the designs.
But in a separate interview, a construction sector expert who opted for anonymity said the contractor was at liberty to consult the RA because they had entered into a legally binding contract on the project.
On the other hand, the expert also said the Vice- President was also right to raise the issue because when things are not right, it is only right that they be resolved.
Dur ing a v isi t of the road, including Chapananga Bridge on Monday, Chilima asked the contractor to go back to the drawing board and redesign the 10-kilometre stretch due to its substandard structure.
The Vice-President, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, expressed dissatisfaction with how the road has been built, saying it is high time that Malawi started having durable roads