Contractors Association admits to ‘coming up short’ at Independence Housing Expo

– we will get our act together, secretary says

Having just recently completed its first major collective assignment as a body, the General Contractors Association of Guyana (GCAG) is still in the process of assessing its performance at the May 26-28 Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Housing Solutions 2017 and Beyond event, its Secretary Neil Cort-Rogers has said.

But even before the association concludes its self-evaluation exercise, Cort-Rogers told this newspaper that in his view, the association performed “below expectations.”

Front view of the model low income home built by the Association

His principal disappointment reposes in the fact that GCAG was unable to complete construction of the sole low-income home it had designed to put on show at the event. He said the timeline for completion was tight, but was quick to add that this was not the only problem. “Frankly, we did not always work together as a team and that disappointed me. It was an opportunity to show what we could do as a body and frankly we did not make the best use of the opportunity.”

Cort-Rogers told Stabroek Business that he would have liked to see the association as a whole apply itself more diligently. “I believe we could have taken the opportunity to run with it more aggressively,” he added.

Asked to assess the event as a whole, Cort-Rogers said the CH&PA had done “quite a good job” pulling off the event. “The turnout was good and the event allowed the 14 or more contractors who were there to show off their work directly to visitors. At a time when Guyanese are on the market for good homes the event provided a useful opportunity for contractors to sample the market,” Cort-Rogers said. He said the GCAG’s low-income model home remained incomplete but arrangements were in train for its completion. “Even in its incomplete condition we already have a few potential buyers,” he said.

Low-cost houses at the recent Housing Expo

And Cort-Rogers said that while GCAG had failed to ‘make’ the list of contracting firms published by the CH&PA on its 2017 Pre-Qualification List of Contractors, Suppliers and Service Providers, “we are clear on where we are and just how much work there is to be done.”

Launched just over a year ago as an umbrella organization for small contractors, GCAG has advocated for the review of national building codes and for the introduction of a Construction Industrial License Board. Additionally, the association undertook to introduce standardized grading of contractors, using the micro, small, medium and large formula.

Further, it had said that over a two-year period it would initiate a lobby for the introduction of Building Certificate courses and Safety and Health courses at tertiary institutions in order to respond to concerns over deficiencies in the area of safety.

GCAG had also said that it would advocate for policies to be put in place to close the gap on income inequality in the industry through ‘no bid contracts’ by increasing the no-bid ceiling from $600,000 to $1.6 million in order to create more opportunities for small contractors to secure greater volumes of small contracts.

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