Notes that the need to radically address the problems, including any abuse of power, is a given
The Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK), in its statement, expresses concern about the process of producing public works and notes that the need to radically address the problems, including any abuse of power, is a given.
On the occasion of publications referring to the referral to the Anti-Corruption Authority of tenders for public construction projects that have been awarded, ETEK notes the issue of the low number of participations in tenders for public construction projects and the phenomenon of submitting prices that exceed the estimated cost of the contract.
Without rejecting the reasoning and the manner in which the Audit Service acted, ETEK speaks of the need to carefully review the entire process of the production of public construction projects or infrastructure projects and especially those concerning buildings.
Mainly, he notes, the relationship of the reduced number of participations, in relation to the increased prices submitted, compared to the estimated contract values, should be examined.
For the above he adds , consideration should be given to the fact that construction contracts do not include methods of alternative dispute resolution, but mandate that any disputes will be resolved only in court, increasing the contractor's risk.
Also, he adds, the widespread and unjustified, most often, use of the design-built-maintain method for construction projects (i.e. buildings), which is by its nature complex and high, financial, in particular, should be examined. risk for contractors.
“Indeed, the excessively long maintenance period, usually twelve years, and the payment method, increase the risk even more,” it states.
< p class="text-paragraph">ETEK also notes that the qualifications, expertise, methodology and quality assurance measures should be examined in terms of the preparation of an appropriate construction program and a correct estimated value of the contract.
It also calls for an examination of the way the Central Committee for Changes and Claims (CCC) operates, disregarding the basic principle of subsidiarity in dispute resolution.
“Especially, with regard to large projects that require partnerships and know-how or special experience, which requires collaborations with foreign contractors, the non-inclusion of the English language in the tender documents should be problematic, which in combination with the tight schedules, has a negative effect on participation”, it states.
With regard to the discretion of the contracting authority to award contractual (mainly) tenders at a price that significantly exceeds its own estimate, the ETEK considers that since it concerns public money, this discretion must follow a framework which should be prepared, sufficiently documented/justified, and finally published so that everyone can judge it.
The example of the Cyprus Museum is typical, according to ETEK, which mentions that in 2015 a political person was talking about a cost of 50 million euros. According to the architectural competition, in 2017 the estimated value of the project was 75 million euros plus VAT. During the tender for the selection of a contractor in 2022, the estimated value had risen to 102 million euros, plus VAT. Finally, around the end of 2022, the contract for the implementation of the project was awarded at 121 million euros plus VAT, reports ETEK.
It adds that a re-evaluation of the entire production chain of public works is required – from the phase of recording the need, documenting the profitability/affordability, maturation, conception, planning, implementation and maintenance, as it suffers, mainly in the issues of individual responsibility, lack of accountability and the (beyond due) not unusual political interventions.
And the extremely long average time required from the registration of the need to the implementation of a public project, mainly buildings, even of small or medium scope, which leads the state to non- rational solutions for its housing, is yet another proof of the need to evaluate and modernize the entire public works production system, as pointed out by ETEK.