Construction industry cautions Govt. against intl’ standards

Feb 1, 2017 –

  • With major developments plans, industry bound to face issues with standards and sustainability 
  • CIDA Chairman insists on clear, sustainable and long-term standards in SL

By Charumini de Silva

The construction industry yesterday called to preserve local standards in the building sector, cautioning the Government regarding unfavourable conditions in free-trade agreements (FTAs).

Noting that Sri Lanka’s construction industry has maintained good standards compared to neighbouring countries, Construction Industry Development Authority (CIDA) Chairman Dr. Michael E. Joachim insisted that allowing foreign guidelines to be implanted through FTAs could reduce building standards in the country.

“There are many FTAs being signed at the moment, and many investors coming from abroad. Most of these people would like to have their own specifications implanted in this country,” he said, at the first Building Specifies Conference held in Colombo yesterday.

With major developments planed for future, where large foreign investments are expected, he warned that the industry is bound to face problems in terms of standards and sustainability.

“I think we have to be very careful when we accept foreign investment into the country. We must maintain our standards or if they want to preserve their standards it should be allowed provided that it is much higher than our standards. Otherwise, there is no point in us talking about standards,” he pointed out.

Dr. Joachim emphasised that it was necessary that Sri Lanka have a very clear understanding and a set of standards in this country.

He also pointed out the fact that the industry needs to seriously consider sustainability in terms of the development of standards in terms of the environmental aspect of those projects. Thereby, he suggested that the industry should arrive at sustainable and long-term standards which will be applicable in Sri Lanka.

Pix by Lasantha Kumara


Building specifications needs improvement says Prof.Weddikkara

  • Says there is a vacuum in the industry for building materials to be documented
  • Plans to formulate comprehensive building manufacture and product source 

With Government poised to carry out major development projects, specification is one of the most important areas in the construction industry that has been neglected and needs improvement, an industry veteran opined.

Colombo School of Construction Technology (CSCT) Dean Prof.Chitra Weddikkara said availability of accurate specifications will act as a powerful tool to engineers, quantity surveyors and clients to ensure a better-quality product which will avoid ambiguities, changes, disputes that arise in an administration of a contract.

She made these remarks at the first Building Specifiers Conference held in Colombo organised by CSCT Sri Lanka and Showcraft International Ltd., associated with Futurex Trade Fair and Events Ltd., India.

The conference provided construction professionals and policy makers a platform for open discussion on the importance of specification and implementation of the same.

She said the objective of the conference was to bring forth the view points of all the experts including specifiers with respect to the need for the right specifications to ensure quality buildings in Sri Lanka.

Noting that the industry is growing with so many building products in the market, Prof.Weddikkara said there is a vacuum in the industry for such products to be documented in a manner that standards and non-standard to cater to the needs of the architects, consultants, clients as well as the contractors.

Furthermore she added that by having few conferences they intend to harness as much products as possible to formulate series of documents and it to be the building manufacture and product source for the entire designing.

“As the documents formulates, we hope to have comprehensive product information, specifications, catalogues, galleries so that the stakeholders can easily search, select and update product information directly into your projects,” she added.

Prof.Weddikkara commended the efforts of CIDA for having published the general specification for civil and MEP for consultants and clients noting it had been immensely helpful in implementing best practices in the country’s construction industry.

The conference covered and highlighted the importance of areas on what are specifications, why are they important, are there different kind of specifications, who should be involved in writing specifications, what could go wrong with a specification; specification and estimation for achieving global standards in construction projects and value addition; specification writing for civil construction; the importance of specifying in the construction projects; pitfalls encountered in project management due to incorrect specifications; uses of specification specifying techniques, specification coordination, guidance and operative procedure, types of specifications available internationally.

Pic by Lasantha Kumara

Construction industry




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