Thiruvananthapuram: Even as the dust raised over the Palarivattom bridge fiasco was settling down another similar structure that was being constructed shoddily collapsed recently at Koolimadu in Kozhikode district.
The recurring bad construction projects has embarrassed the Public Works Department (PWD) no end.
To ensure the quality of public works undertaken by contractors, the Department has decided to clear their bills only after receiving quality certificates.
In a circular, the PWD chief engineer (administration) has directed the officials that the bills should neither be cleared nor any recommendations made until the contractor produces the certificate.
The executive engineer could halt the ongoing works if found to be sub-standard. The circular has also instructed that even the bills need to be prepared after ensuring the quality.
Criticising officials for not adhering to norms laid out in the PWD manual, the chief engineer warned of initiating stringent action against those found breaching the guidelines.
Three different tests
The manual has mandated three different lab tests to ensure the quality of the work. The first test has to be conducted by the contractor. If the project cost is above Rs 2 crore, the contractor should set up the lab at the worksite itself. The firm, which has won the contract, should ensure that the lab has been established.
If the project cost is below Rs 2 crore, the test could be conducted in any recognised laboratory.
The onus of conducting the second test is with the PWD. If the test reveals any fault, a third test should be conducted by an external lab. If concrete is being tested, the third test should be conducted within a week, and the samples for both the tests should be collected together.
The overseer and assistant engineer are responsible for entering the result of the first test in the register. The assistant executive engineer should oversee the process, besides ensuring that the test was conducted by a recognised lab. The result of the first test should be included when the samples are forwarded for the second test.
No certificate required for projects under Rs 15 lakh
Quality certificates are not required for works for which the assistant executive engineer could give the technical approval. The assistant executive engineer could approve projects costing up to Rs 15 lakh.
However, if the estimate is more than Rs 15 lakh, the work should clear the first test to get the bills passed. If samples of any related work have been collected for the second test, the bill will be cleared only after receiving its result.