News

26. Nov 2014

Nordecon: Changing rules during the game is not good practice in road construction either

The conclusions of the study of the nationwide road objects, which was conducted by the Road Administration at the end of 2013 and at the beginning of 2014 and which received a lot of publicity, are misleading. Nordecon analysed these results, which showed that the Road Administration was comparing the road sections that were built under the contracts concluded years ago with the current requirements, which are more demanding than the previous ones.

The conclusions of the study of the nationwide road objects, which was conducted by the Road Administration at the end of 2013 and at the beginning of 2014 and which received a lot of publicity, are misleading. Nordecon analysed these results, which showed that the Road Administration was comparing the road sections that were built under the contracts concluded years ago with the current requirements, which are more demanding than the previous ones.

 

“The analysis of Nordecon showed that in almost all cases that were reflected in the study of Teede Tehnokeskus AS and in the conclusions of the Road Administration, the roads were built in accordance with the requirements and contracts and in coordination with the Road Administration,” said Jaano Vink, the Chairman of Nordecon. “The difference with the period of in some cases more than 5 years ago, which is the time when the contract was concluded, resulted from the fact that the requirements at that time were lower than today. Even then, the accepted requirements were actually not inadequate, the Road Administration has now simply started updating the requirements and significantly tightening them up – this is also reflected in the new public procurements. At the same time, the initial results of the study were largely superficially presented by media and the rushed conclusions created an impression that we or also other road constructors have not met or fulfilled the constructional obligations sufficiently. That is incorrect. Nordecon has always carried out a quality work and complied with the requirements that the client has established during the procurement. This is proven by the fact that the objects under investigation have been accepted by the Road Administration and the surveillance authority.”

 

“As road users, we feel that Estonian main highways are actually in a pretty good condition and comparable with the developed neighbouring countries,“ Jaano Vink explained. “Naturally, there are few places on the recently constructed road sections, where the constructor has to eliminate the problems emerging during the warranty and this is understandable. Even a new car or washing machine has a warranty period when it is possible to eliminate the emerged problems. The competition in public procurements, i.e. who is going to build the roads, is strong and intense, at the same time there is only one client. In addition, the constructor can rely in its works only on the points that the client, the Road Administration, wishes and dictates – there is no room for improvisation. To my knowledge, the majority of the contractors have in various times offered the Road Administration more or less expensive or lasting solutions for the sake of the results of the highest quality or lower operating costs. However, changing the terms and conditions in an already concluded public procurement is simply not possible, and the road constructors are forced to carry out the initial building project, unfortunately even when it is not the best. Therefore, the constructors’ proposals have often remained only good thoughts. – If we speak figuratively - the work clearly comes from the client’s materials. Therefore, precise, well-considered and meaningful preparatory processes are exceptionally important in the case of public procurements – thorough planning and smart design. Also, the construction works should be followed by the inspection based on the clear and specific rules.”

 

“Nordecon fully supports the wish of the current management of the Road Administration to do their work much better and learn from the mistakes made in the past. We also have the same wish,” Jaano Vink said. “At the same time, we cannot unilaterally change the already concluded conditions and terms retrospectively and present the constructors new demands in places where the work is already completed, delivered and accepted. Since several objects stated in the Road Administration study have valid warranties, the related contracts are still in force, and I assure you that Nordecon will eliminate the discovered and justified issues properly. In the present case, based on the study materials commissioned by the Road Administration, we have not found any signs that the quality of the roads built by Nordecon is several times worse than is required, as it was presented scandalously in the media. Rather the contrary, the study results indicated within the analysis that the work is principally performed in accordance with the contract and accepted norms. In a few places where the defects where indeed discovered, Nordecon will correct its mistakes within warranty.”