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Highlights of November 23 Press Conference on Shanghai’s New Regulations on Construction Project Inspection and Examination

Shen Xiaosu, deputy director of Shanghai Urban and Rural Construction and Transportation Commission

Gu Changhao: deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Office of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government

Shanghai Radio:I have a question for Mr Shen. This morning we found something interesting as we visited a construction site that was undergoing an examination. Samples of cement concrete and reinforcement steel rods were labeled with electronic codes and bar codes, which makes it convenient to track their producers in case of a lawsuit. Will this practice be applied all over Shanghai and who is responsible for the management of electronic labels and bar codes?

Shen Xiaosu:The city government enacted a new regulation early this year on quality examination and management of local construction projects and we developed a quality examination platform in cooperation with various trade associations. The platform is efficient and reliable. Test results will be shared by all association members through this platform. To ensure the accuracy of examination, we put a unique identification mark on each sample taken from a construction site and we are sure the sample they sent us later is exactly the one we picked at the site.

Relevant government departments will strengthen their supervision of construction. Besides regular checks, official inspectors will also carry out random checks that should make up at least 5 percent of total examinations at a construction site.

People’s Daily:I have two questions for Mr. Gu. You just talked about the fee charges which are based on the highest national standard and you also said there will be provisions regarding fines. Do you mean the punishment will be more severe than before? Since the examination procedures are newly created, is the punishment defined in this regulation more severe compared with the practices of other provinces in the building industry?

Gu Changhao:The national government has set fee rates for construction supervision, which can be adjusted within a range of 20 percent difference. It also ruled that a construction project which requires compulsory supervision shall be charged the maximum examination fee. We added some punishment categories in Shanghai’s regulation to strengthen the power of supervision according to local conditions.

Regarding the examination procedures, we amended the local rules on the basis of the national regulation to strengthen supervision. For example, construction supervisors must obtain qualification certificates through training and examination. Those found without a certificate will be punished severely. This is an amendment based on Shanghai’s experiences. Shanghai’s lawmakers are also considering adding a provision on revoking certificates from unqualified supervisors.

China News Agency:I have two questions. Mr. Gu just mentioned the adoption of two new procedures to prevent construction accidents in Shanghai, which were based on lessons of recent years. Why do you adopt these two procedures at this time? Will some key construction projects in Shanghai, including the Disneyland project, be subject to more rigorous supervision?

Shen Xiaosu:Shanghai Government always puts great emphasis on construction safety and quality. It made 22 proposals in its No. 1 circular of 2010 on how to regulate the construction market and eliminate malpractices. Apart from the two new procedures, we also drafted the Shanghai Regulation on Construction Quality and Safety to the Municipal People’s Congress for approval.

In regard to construction quality, we should first guarantee all construction materials meet the quality standards. Therefore, the examination of construction materials is very important. The municipal government issued the new rules on quality inspection to strengthen market supervision. We have classified construction project management into different levels and intensified supervision on intermediates.

We treat all projects strictly according to the regulation, not just key projects like the Shanghai Disneyland.

Youth Daily:My first question is how to ensure that the inspector is not influenced by the construction company after receiving the examination fees? Second, would you please give a few examples of companies which were fined for not meeting quality standards before Shanghai introduced the two examination procedures?

Shen Xiaosu:The two procedures were actually based on past experiences in construction supervision and management. To ensure the charging of examination fees will not influence the fairness of examination result, the new regulations made it clear that all the fees will be paid to an independent and separate account and cannot be used for other purposes.