Investigation in to repeated delays to Thailand’s new parliament complex completion
Contractor Stecon has had four extensions, more than doubling construction period
See also Thailand’s New parliament building construction deadline extended, again
The House of Representatives has voted to set up a panel to investigate the repeated delays in the construction of the new parliament complex.
The opposition motion was extensively debated before the House voted, with 354 in favour and two abstentions, to set up the inquiry.
Somkid Chueakhong (Pheu Thai) told the House that people had been asking why the 12-billion-baht contract signed with Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc (Stecon) on Nov 24, 2015, for completion within 900 days was still only a work in progress.
The deadline had been extended four times, the most recent prolonging the construction to more than 2,000 days, he said.
Many observers found it unsound that a change in the design could result in the deadline being extended, he said. With modern technology any alteration to the design should not have taken this long, he argued.
He wondered if there was any intention to make the design problematic, to justify the contractor’s request for an extension and ensure there was no breach of contract.
Supachai Jaisamut (Bhumjaithai) accused parliament officials of failing to inform the House of the reasons for the construction delays. A fourth extension would push the completion date back from Dec 16 this year to Dec 31, 2020, he said.
Sorasak Pienvej, secretary of the House of Representatives, said the state was at fault and this led to an extension being given to the contractor.
Construction was now 70% complete. Under the initial plan, the project must be 95% complete before handover.
Thitinan Saengnak (Future Forward Party) said that in his capacity as a member of the House committee on parliamentary affairs he had earlier invited people involved in the project, including the project’s supervisor and advisers, to provide details of aspects of the construction.
The panel had no information about the sale of soil excavated from the site and its value, he said.
An inspection on Wednesday this week found that construction work was expected to be completed in early February, yet the fourth extension expires on Dec 31, 2020, Mr Thitinan said.
He believed there would be a fifth extension, because there was a contract for the public utilities system which expires on March 15 next year.
The extension of the project would put the parliament at a disadvantage as it had to pay rent for use of premises outside the parliament complex, and increased travel allowances to parliament officials, he said.
The contractor stood to benefit from the extensions, he said, and called on the parliament to investigate the delays.
Kraikong Waithanakarn (FFP list) said the first extension saw the construction work progress by 30%. In the second extension, the work was only 45% complete. This meant that work had progressed 15% from the first to the second extension.
Chonlanan Srikaew (Pheu Thai) called on the parliament to look into the delays to prevent it from paying more “stupidity” fees. He also believed the construction would not be completed during the fourth extension.
The opposition MP said there would probably be another extension.