The enormous challenges being faced by the construction industry cannot be wished away, but calls for a more radical and consistent transformation in order to match up to the international standards, Rockson Kwesi Dogbegah, Chairman of the Ghana Construction Association Council, has hinted.
According to him, a lot of standards had been compromised in the industry, thereby by creating a lot of inequality and obstacles that are virtually killing local firms at the expense of the foreign ones.
Mr Dogbegah made the call in Ho during a symposium to mark the 20th anniversary of Berock Ventures Limited (BVL), an indigenous Construction Firm which he founded.
He called on the local contractors to stay united and fight for their rights because the future of upcoming firms and that of the country depended on it. He urged Ghanaian contractors to be bold, take risks and make sacrifices to improve the construction industry in the country.
He added that “Ghanaian contractors must be determined because…there is nothing to lose when you keep trying…we don’t miss anything when making attempts.”
Mr Dogbegah who is also the Chairman of the Ghana Centre for Chartered Institute of Building also cautioned local contractors against undercoating their bids, since this affected the quality and lifespan of their work.
“It eventually reduces the standards in the industry which is a serious recipe for disaster as far as the industry was concerned… If we can compete with the foreign companies and eventually overtake them, we need to stick to the right bids and standards.”
He also emphasized the need for continuous capacity and knowledge acquisition to stimulate creativity and innovation in order to beat the competition from the international competitors.
Mr Dogbegah who is also the Chairman of the pioneer Construction Research Fund for the industry also called on government to take swift pragmatic steps to tackle issues facing the contractors and the industry as a whole because “Government and state institutions are part of the problem.”
The Chairman of the Volta Regional Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG), Prosper Ledi, commended Berock for blazing the trail for other indigenous firms to follow and hoped that the challenges of the industry would soon be overcomed.
The Chief Executive Officer of the BVL, Courage Dogbegah commended the founder in believing in young people and allowing them to run the company he founded. He noted that the company which was registered in 1993 built a head teacher’s bungalow in Keklebesi in the Agotime-Ziope District of the Volta Region in 1994.
That contract was completed with materials and equipment on credit, a scenario synonymous with start-ups in the country. Twenty years down the lane, the company had become one of the leading building firms in the country, competing with international players.
Buildings in the firm’s credit include the Hilla Limann Hall at the University of Ghana, Legon, Schools of Engineering and Business at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, (KNUST). Others are the National ICT Park for Ghana which is due for completion in November, 15-storey Ghana Shippers Authority Office Complex, the National Blood Centre for Korle-Bu, among others.
He added that Berock which hopes to be a global player had spent over $100,000 in corporate social responsibilities. The firm which is currently registered in Liberia and other countries in the sub-region hopes to open departments such as real estates and property development, facility management and road construction in the coming year.