New parliament gets pushed back to 2019

New parliament gets pushed back to 2019

Workers are working at the construction site of the new parliament on Aug 4. (Bangkok Post file photo)

An official has stated that the half-finished new parliament complex must be completed by the end of 2019.

Executives of the Secretariat of the House of Representatives and the media were led by Sorasak Pienvej, secretary-general of the Secretariat of the House, to inspect the construction site of the new complex on Kiakkai Road yesterday.

Mr Sorasak said the construction is 40% complete and the major structures are in place. However, virtually no further progress has been made since the last media trip to the site.

Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc was hired in 2013 as the contractor for the 12-billion-baht project, which has experienced repeated delays.

Pinij Poolkerd, a manager of the office serving as the project’s construction consultant, said the initial construction contract envisaged the complex being built between June 8, 2013 and Nov 24, 2015.

However, problems arose during groundbreaking to lay the foundations, which prompted the Secretariat to grant an extension to Dec 15, 2016.

Further issues, when the underground structures were built, led to a further extension until Feb 9 next year, according to Mr Pinij.

With only 101 days until that deadline expires, he said, another extension will be required due to the delayed handover of portions of the land.

Mr Pinij said the information and communications technology (ICT) system still needed to be integrated into the project and a company to install the hardware is being sought.

According to Mr Sorasak, the contractor has asked for a further 926-day extension, but he personally thought that this time frame was excessive, stressing the project must be completed by the end of 2019.

Mr Sorasak said three billion baht has been set aside for the construction this year, but the contractor had used up only two billion baht and must speed up the work.

He said a new budget would be added next year to expedite the construction, adding that he had appealed to every party to ramp up their efforts to finish the work quickly.

The contractor, Mr Sorasak said, insisted that the work will be completed in line with the plan if all parties work together and there is enough budget to finance the construction without any new problems emerging.

Mr Sorasak said no request has yet been made to the cabinet to seek a budget for the ICT system, but a system designer — Merlin’s Solutions International Co — has been found to do the job.

The company agreed to complete the task by the end of the year.

Executives of Sino-Thai could not be reached by Bangkok Post reporters last night to comment on the matter.