You can count on a gradual improvement in the quality of civic projects as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finalised its revised schedule of rates and work specifications, which will lead to more accurate cost estimations.
This would help curb a major malpractice in the civic body’s tendering process that results in poor quality of work — preparation of inaccurate cost estimates by civic engineers, which leads to either extremely low or high bidding by contractors.
This revised schedule of rates and a dedicated software now await an approval from municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte. It is expected to be enforced from next month.
Low bidding and the consequent shoddy quality of work would be deterred with two more additions under the new system: a dynamic rate sheet and a modernised monitoring of quality tests of materials used by contractors.
“Engineers responsible for conducting regular site testing of raw materials will have to feed the results of each test mentioned in the software. This will ensure all tests are conducted and the results are available for cross-verification by their higher-ups,” said a senior civic official from the civic planning and design department, who is working on the new system.
The new rate sheet, prepared by BMC-appointed Tata Consulting Engineers Limited, would be periodically restructured to keep up with changing bidding patterns in contracts.
“The schedule has been prepared after an extensive market survey conducted by gathering information from leading manufacturers, dealers and stockists. If contractors buy materials from different manufactures, there will naturally be a disparity in our cost estimates and the rates quoted by them, so we have made a provision to bring down our rates accordingly.
But a stringent check on quality would be kept through the tests,” said another official.
Senior corporators underscored the need to rework the existing schedule of rates to eliminate the gaps that lead to low-quality work.
“If the quality of work has to improve, it is imperative the rate schedule is updated. With a restructured rate schedule, better and more qualified contractors would also bid for contracts, as the current one only leaves scope for malpractices,” said Manoj Kotak, civic standing member and BJP corporator.