Shoddy builders in trouble - Power Construction

EAST LONDON - Against the backdrop of housing delivery protests, building contractors in the Eastern Cape who deliver sub-standard work may have met their match.The Housing and Local Government Department is determined to force such contractors to fix their shoddy work.Power Construction is already being forced to fix its workmanship at both Maclear and Ugie housing projects, department spokesman Mbulelo Linda said yesterday.Linda said Power Construction was given until July to rectify defects.Arcus Gibb, the consulting engineer for Power Construction, responsible for foundation design and supervision, is fixing defects at Ugie.The moves follow several site visits by departmental officials and Elundini Municipality after complaints relating to quality.In response to the complaints, the department compiled a report listing defects and recommendations.The department last week announced sub-standard work in housing projects would be investigated and the contractors forced to effect repairs at these projects.This announcement comes amid housing delivery protests throughout the province.Yesterday Linda said developers bent on shoddy work would be tracked down."Only Power Construction has been identified so far. We are going to look for others in East London, Port Elizabeth, Humansdorp and other places," he added.The constructors would have to do the repairs at their own cost. "It's only when they are untraceable that the department can take funding from the (housing) budget," Linda said."Government cannot afford to carry the costs of repairing shoddy workmanship when it has to deal with huge backlogs," he said.Linda said there was no funding for new projects in some municipalities. The only available funds were those with which to restart stalled projects.The department planned to rope in the National Homebuilders Registration Council to register contractors and do follow-up inspections on their work. The departmental report on the Maclear housing project indicated that after completion of the first batch of houses there was a problem in the bulk water supply to the project.The bulk main burst and beneficiaries could not be moved into the houses that did not have water.The municipality did not have the budget to effect repairs running to around R120000.The report also said Power Construction should have handed over the keys of completed units to the municipality. This was not done and the units were subsequently vandalised.The vandalism mostly affected windows and window fittings. Doors and plumbing were less affected.Other findings of the site visits to Ugie and Maclear included issues with foundations as well as exposed water supply and drainage installations which caused soil erosion."Cracks are evident on most of the slabs, which might indicate a problem with the foundation design or construction." Drainage of basins is inadequate with the end of drainage pipes simply buried in the ground outside the house. This will likely result in blockages as soon as the wash basins are used, the report said, adding that some septic tanks were found to be blocked or missing.

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