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Sierra Leone News: 13 road projects failed to submit design reports

For all 18 road projects audited, 13 contractors for specific road projects did not submit design reports. The audit noted that contractors were considered in procurement process after submitting preliminary drawings and design.  According to the Technical Audit Report, prior to awarding a contract to contractors, the awarded contractor was supposed to submit final designs and drawings which were supposed to be approved by the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) prior to signing of contract. Also, there were no project briefs in all 18 projects audited. The only five were M/s First Tricon Ltd. for Taima – Njala and M/s First Tricon for Moyamba et.al. M/s China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG) for Mange-Mambolo and M/s Compaigne Saheliene Enterprise for Makeni-Kamakwie-Madinoula Road projects and M/s Bentovilla (SL) Limited for Waterloo road projects had submitted final design drawings to SLRA. However, only four of those submitted design reports and only one contractor M/s First Tricon for Moyamba road project had a design report submitted to SLRA. The audit noted that, the reasons for not reviewing the designs were because SLRA commissioned all these activities to contractors and the review role remained with Consultants. However, the audit was of the opinion that the reasons for non-review were because of lack of feasibility studies and inadequate review of the designs submitted by contractors during procurement. Other reason noted was that SLRA lacked thorough collection of information from contractors to provide relevant road design details from which projects could be easily implemented. Furthermore, design details could provide reasonable cost estimates for SLRA and guide it to procure the lowest evaluated bidder with contract award that is most economical for effective execution of the projects to reduce or avoid cost overrun, time overrun and quality. The auditors noted that SLRA used design and build method for execution of projects, in which a contractor carried out designs and build, whereas the design review, management and supervision were carried out by the consultant. “Review of contract files indicated that, there were shortfalls in the designs that resulted into significant changes and cost overrun during project execution” the report says. Similarly, SLRA they stated did not ensure that contractors are adequately preparing road designs and drawings during the submission of bids. “This is because SLRA did not prepare the designs as the projects were executed in design and build approach.” The Management responded that, concept designs were provided during the tender stage of the design and build projects, however, not all projects have been provided with the required details. It was recommended that the Management of SLRA should consider reviewing the current implemented designs and drawings of all on-going road projects and develop a mechanism that will ensure contractors’ designs and drawings are reflective of the actual working environment, set requirements and meet the required standards for approved road works.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Tuesday May 14, 2019.

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