Allow construction companies to do evaluation work, urge Sabah builders

Work at construction sites has come to a halt due to the movement control order.

KOTA KINABALU: Construction bosses in Sabah have urged the government to allow their firms to carry out evaluation work at their worksites which they say have been disrupted by the movement control order (MCO).

Sabah Builders Association (SBA) president Lou Chi Nam said due to the short MCO notice, many project sites were closed with minimal preparation for site safety or health aspects of the temporary works.

This involved works such as excavation pits, shoring, scaffolding, formworks and reinforcement of steel bars, among others.

“SBA fully supports the MCO to contain the Covid-19 but we are concerned over the impact of the MCO extension to April 14 on the construction industry.

“SBA appeals to the government to allow the consultant and the contractor’s personnel to visit the construction sites to conduct joint work progress evaluation.

“This to enable the consultants to issue the progress valuation certificates. The employers can then release payment to the contractors during the MCO period,” he said in a statement here.

Sabah Builders Association president Lou Chi Nam.

Lou said the works executed in February and March for both public and private sector projects have yet to be certified by the consultants.

“Many have not been evaluated on site by the consultants due to the sudden MCO announcement.

“Allowing the evaluation work will ease the contractors’ financial burden to pay the workers’ wages and the suppliers for the building materials. The construction sites are generally in the open,” he said.

He said the prolonged delay in converting the temporary works to permanent works will not only pose safety hazards to the public but will also cause extensive damage, resulting in heavy financial losses.

According to Lou, there is minimal risk of the virus spreading within the open space sites as long as the standard precautionary actions —such as taking workers’ body temperature on entering and leaving the site, practising social distancing and personal hygiene — were enforced.

“Many contractors who lack the financial reserves will not be able to sustain the extra financial burden of having to pay both the workers’ wages and the extra cost of rectifying the damaged works during this difficult period,” he said.