Structural engineer Grenville Phillips is calling on Government to stop meddling in the construction marketplace.
He sounded this warning earlier today while delivering the feature address at the Rayside Construction Limited Small Builders Forum, Lower Estate, St George.
Phillips charged that some contractors had been getting jobs as a result of political favouritism, a move which he claimed was one of the major challenges the construction industry faced in the ongoing recession.
He indicated that Government should not meddle in the marketplace, selecting winners and losers, but rather regulate an undistorted market that allows for competition.
The structural engineer also said that Government distortion of the market during a recession significantly reduced the export potential of consultation and contracts.
“If the marketplace is distorted, it damages the export potential of your engineers, architects and contractors. The distortion occurs when you take all the road projects and gave them to one consultant. If all the road projects go to one consultant then the others can’t put road projects on their resumes.
“And therefore, when the recession comes to an end, you then cannot use your resume to get other jobs because you are disqualified, you cannot show that you have done any work in the last five years. If contractors can’t compete and all the work is simply just given to one contractor, there is not competition. And when the recession has ended you can’t go all out now and try to get work,” he said.
Phillips said despite the economic climate, the marketplace would work itself out automatically once there was no distortion and reiterated that meddling in the industry was the greatest challenge consultants and contractors faced.
“The only way to overcome is for the Government to do its job in regulating the marketplace and ensuring that its fair. It is like playing a game of soccer when you have one team coming out and the referee says alright kick the ball anywhere you want. The other is saying what going on we are dressed up and we are ready to play soccer. But the referee just says, ‘No, he won’. Year after year there are more road projects going on but there is no competition for the work among consultants,” he explained.
He added: “Why the Government feels the need to just gave and not allow competition, I don’t know. What the Government does is pick winners and losers. By picking the winners you are picking the losers. If you are not favoured the rest are losers and when the recession ends, the Government expects the private sector to go all out and try and bring in work. With what? With a dead resume? [We] can’t do it”. (AH)