Shoddy work under fire

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 August, 1999, 12:00am

A scathing attack on the poor quality of maintenance work carried out by contractors has been launched by one of their biggest customers - the Government.

The Works Bureau has circulated a memo to contractors and government departments outlining a plan to improve work on public services such as roads, pavements, water pipes and drains.

'One major reason for the poor quality of maintenance works is the entrenched and unhealthy culture of the maintenance sector constituted by the irresponsible attitude of contractors, lax and lenient attitude of some government staff and general disregard for the importance of maintenance works,' it said.

The memo, written by Deputy Secretary for Works Chan Wing-sang, also blamed cutthroat bidding by contractors who later 'cut corners' when awarded contracts as well as a lack of supervision by government staff.

Unsatisfactory maintenance jobs led to breakdowns and works having to be redone frequently, causing nuisance to neighbourhoods, it said.

Examples of poor quality work included: Traffic lanes or pavements blocked while work is not in progress; Unrealistic completion dates being given on signboards which often could not be properly read; Inadequate compacting, causing uneven road surfaces.

The memo called for increased supervision of works and meetings with contractors during the tendering process as well as progress meetings during the contract.

Poor performing contractors should be screened out from tenders, it said.

Hong Kong Construction Association spokesman Patrick Chan Wing-tung said he had raised with members the need to ensure works were carried out properly.