The award of government tenders is increasingly being delayed as private-sector players are called upon to take a nontraditional approach in implementing major infrastructure projects and lead these, as opposed to waiting for the State to commission them.
The typical approach in comparison to the nontraditional approach is for government to issue tenders for professional services; however, the lack of depth in respect of technical skills and capacity means that government does not have the ability to ask the industry for what it needs.
This is causing delays in tender awards because the lower levels of government cannot conceptualise and package programmes/projects that will realise the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP) with the result that there is no service delivery and ever-increasing service delivery protests.
Private-sector companies,therefore, implement these projects through various available mechanisms in accordance with the National Treasury Procurement Processes and regulations.
nvestment holding company Dynacon Business Solutions Holdings affiliate Dynacon EPC CEO Fani Mtetwa tells Engineering News that “the nontraditional approach to the implementation of major infrastructure projects is directly linked to government’s NDP, which calls for greater transformation and inclusivity in the construction sector.
“This approach will, however, require a new type of leadership from engineering project managers, who will have to cultivate an understanding of what is needed on the ground and then facilitate delivery of appropriate projects that speak directly to the NDP.”
Further, this nontraditional approach will require that government has engineers at its disposal, as well as a dedicated government engineer, to support the procurement of infrastructure projects using the guidelines provided in the Infrastructure Delivery Management System (IDMS).
“This is a spoke that is missing in the wheel of infrastructure delivery,” Mtetwa states.
He says “a new type of leadership” is needed, including technical managers who have strong project and contract management skills to balance resources across a programme/project portfolio while maintaining technical accountability down to the level of individual projects.
Meanwhile, the biggest opportunity for potential for growth in the construction industry lies in procurement, Mtetwa states.
“The next generation of engineering and construction industrials will be specialists in procurement management.”
He further notes that Dynacon EPC has implemented the Asite Adoddle Platform using the IDMS protocols and processes. The platform aims to work with the various government entities, such as the Construction Industry Development Board, the Department of Public Works and the National Treasury, to build capacity to deliver infrastructure according to the NDP objectives.
The world’s leading architecture, engineering, construction and property firms use Asite Adoddle to modernise their approach to building information modelling. Demand for the platform has increased rapidly worldwide, replacing expensive, out-dated and on-site systems, as well as slow, old-fashioned spreadsheets. On-site systems present information security risks amongst others and are difficult to use.
“The discipline of engineering project management needs to be developed by the industry through mentorship programmes in the same way that we develop the other engineering disciplines such as water, structures and transport,” says Mtetwa.
He notes that, generally, there is significant demand for the development of young talent in the maths and science sphere to prepare them for engineering studies. “The country needs to produce significantly more professionals to keep pace with our economic growth aspirations.”
Mtetwa notes that industry should also drive research and development beyond funding institutions of higher learning to facilitate innovation in projects.