SUNBIZ

Construction Companies Warily Support Move

  The construction boom in Fiji relent­lessly continues. It is seen as a step in the right direc­tion for a country that aspires to one day have large buildings dominate
16 Jun 2018 10:00
Construction Companies Warily Support Move

 

The construction boom in Fiji relent­lessly continues.

It is seen as a step in the right direc­tion for a country that aspires to one day have large buildings dominate its skyline.

However, one essential component could be putting consumers and contractors at risk.

The billion-dollar construction industry is not licensed, meaning activities that nor­mally requires a high level of skill to finish is largely unregulated.

Almost all the estimated thousand con­struction firms operating in Fiji have busi­ness licences; yet none carry the profes­sional licence that is needed to confirm competency.

Industry players are questioning why con­struction people do not need practising li­censes, unlike doctors and lawyers.

This year’s inaugural Construction Indus­try Council conference at Warwick Fiji on the Coral Coast presents them with an op­portunity to voice their concerns.

Peter Watts, business development man­ager at Fulton Hogan Highways, says the licensing platform has to be setup at a Gov­ernment level.

Mr Watts believes that licensing is a way of ensuring practitioners are credible, qual­ified and ethical at all times.

From staff protection to better building standards, he says licensing can offer sev­eral benefits to the industry.

While many at the conference support Mr Watts’ view, they admit that questions still remained unanswered.

There is a lot of talk about aligning local standards with international models such as the one in New Zealand.

“Most of the larger construction firms, and the good ones, have the basic infrastruc­ture and requirements in place to actually meet a number of those requirements even by, say, New Zealand standards,” says Ravin­dra Pillay.

Mr Pillay is the director and a senior en­gineer at the Civil and Environmental Con­sulting Engineers.

“But what needs to be done is to decide the different sectorial needs of the Fiji market.

“Fiji is a very diverse country with a lot of islands and village settings and these are the sectors that cannot afford the high-end construction cost that is currently preva­lent.”

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

 



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