Malawian contractors plead for construction safety

Construction safety is not a priority on some projects in Malawi.
Construction safety is not a priority on some projects in Malawi.

Construction contractors in Malawi complain that formal construction safety procedures are not regarded as a mandatory practice.

Contractors will meet in Lilongwe in November 2016 to plead for enforcement of construction safety procedures on all the built environment professions.

The National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) said they wanted to build safe infrastructure, through safe planning, design, and projects The plea follows some health and safety incidents, reports Capital Radio Malawi.

Another topic for discussion will be the contributions that the construction industry has made in reducing risks of disasters, caused either deliberately or by infrastructure failure.

In addition, the conference is expected to provide a platform for stakeholders to share their experiences and solutions to the challenges that the construction industry is currently facing.

It will be held under the theme “Construction industry relevance; a shift to sustainable and resilient infrastructure”, and “disaster planning and mitigation; designing and constructing for the future”.

A road project in Malawi (Construction Review Online). Some other projects are suffering due to lack of regard for construction safety among international contractors.
A road project in Malawi (Construction Review Online). Some other projects are suffering due to lack of regard for construction safety among international contractors.

According to Mulima Phiri, building and construction in Malawi is vastly different from South Africa’s construction sector. He is a Professional Construction Manager in South Africa.

Phiri said in Malawi, formal health and safety procedures were not regarded as a mandatory practice during construction.

They will also plead for local jobs. “In SA, huge projects are provided to local contractors, whereas in Malawi, main contracts are reserved for international contractors.”

However Phiri notes that whereas in South Africa, most of contracts are generally awarded to a few large companies, in Malawi, the load is distributed across all qualifying companies.

Construction corruption

“Malawi is not without its challenges in the construction sector. Political interference and influence on construction works, collusion and corruption and the current economic status of the country have been identified as barriers to a more sustainable industry.”

The commonwealthofnations.org indicates that in 2007 construction contributed 4% to the country’s GDP.

In the 1970s and 1980s, most construction works were carried out by South African companies.

However in recent years, the local building industry has responded to a stronger economy and a marked increase in government expenditure on infrastructure, especially road-building.

·         Source; Capital Radio Malawi.

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