A problem SARACCA experiences regularly is contractors registering with it to win a tender – often a public tender – and only paying their subs if successful.
Now the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) has announced efforts to stop non-registered people from leading infrastructure projects.
Contractor licensing is one of the most important initial steps in becoming a legitimate construction business. An HVAC&R contractor being registered with SARACCA or, say, a plumbing contractor registered with IOPSA, protects the contractor but more importantly lets its customers know that it’s a professional business with a certain level of expertise and legitimacy.
In order to bid for some government projects, being a member of an official contractors’ body can be the difference between winning and losing. SARACCA director Barney Richardson says a certain percentage of members join when they are tendering: if they don’t win the tender they often never pay the join up fee, and even if they win often let their membership lapse as soon as the contract is complete.
Now the built environment regulator (CBE) has warned that it is illegal for a non-registered person to administer and lead infrastructure projects in South Africa, and further warned that such practices have led to many a government department and state-owned entity incurring financial losses.
The CBE explains that the illegal administration and leading of projects by non-registered people is one of the most significant challenges confronting the built environment.
Candidates often misrepresent their credentials or register with professional bodies but as soon as they are appointed, they discontinue their affiliation and deactivate their memberships, the council notes, adding that the lack of professional affiliation results in huge financial losses for the state when these individuals cannot be held responsible for their professional conduct.
Additionally, the CBE noted that the quality of professional teams has deteriorated over time, resulting in design errors, project overruns, unjustifiable deviations and poor project scoping.
The CBE, as a statutory body, is actively advocating, together with professional councils and recognised voluntary associations such as SARACCA, for administration and work on infrastructure projects to be the exclusive domain of registered persons.
For example, the CBE is collaborating with the National School of Government to offer a compulsory programme for non-registered persons to be implemented across all three spheres of government and in the private sector.
This programme will render it illegal for a non-registered person to administer and lead infrastructure projects across the three spheres of government, as well as the private sector. This will be augmented by accompanying legislation through the Built Environment Transformation Charter and Sector Codes, which are currently being developed for public consultation by the sector.