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Regulatory framework coming for construction industry

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 05, 2017

PARLIAMENT is to invite stakeholders in the construction industry to make submissions on a policy paper aimed at creating a legal and regulatory framework for the streamlining of public infrastructure construction projects in Jamaica.

The policy, which was tabled in May 2015, will seek to correct the anomalies that have hampered the sector and address issues such as the registration of professionals and enterprises; the refinement of procurement rules and guidelines; the development of skill levels; the quality of inputs and output, environmental issues; research and development; and safety and security.

At an administrative meeting of the Infrastructure and Physical Development Committee of Parliament, Tuesday, chairman Mikael Phillips said groups such as the Incorporated Master Builders Association (IMAJ), the Jamaica Institution of Engineers (JIE), the Jamaican Institute of Quantity Surveyors (JIQS), and the Jamaican Institute of Architects (JIA), along with the general public are being invited to make submissions, after which they will be asked to make presentations before the committee. The IMAJ, JIE, JIQS, and JIA had collectively, in 2001, made proposals for the revival of the sector.

“Seeing the shift in our construction industry with more overseas players, it's timely to review the policy paper,” Phillips told the committee.

It was decided at a meeting of an infrastructure subcommittee of Cabinet in 1998 that attention should be given to making the industry more cost-effective and competitive within a suitable regulatory framework.

Over the years, the works ministry revised the policy document based on consultations at the Green Paper stage. The Government is proposing to provide support for human resource development in the sector through HEART/Trust NTA, the University of Technology Jamaica, The University of the West Indies, and on-the-job training.

It was also proposed that the sector be targeted for special employment-generation and poverty-alleviation programmes; that the policy enable fair competition for Government contracts; and a national register of contractors be established through the National Contracts Commission.

“In the main, it is expected that the implementation of the policy will depend largely on private sector initiatives and on public-private partnerships. It states further that under these partnerships, private sector players will have responsibility in the areas of policy advice, codes of conduct, use of information technology, and project management,” the document said.

The ministries with responsibility for works and housing are to be charged with coordinating the development and implementation of policies and guidelines for the industry, and for developing mechanisms for monitoring objectives of the policy and outcomes.