In a recent editorial by World Architecture News (WAN), a global resource for architecture, the editors have raised what appears to be a new scandal in Chinese Construction. In their previous editorial, which the TTIA also covered, Chinese construction firms were using thinned structural steel reinforcement on projects. It now appears that the use of sea sand is being used in the construction. According to WAN, “The use of sea sand in the production of concrete is considered dangerous as the material contains chlorine and salt wich can corrode the steel reinforcement rods within a construction project, rendering it unstable.” Read the article titled, “New Scandal in Chinese Construction: First Steel Thinning, Now Corrosive concrete…”
China, who has acquired a 10% stake in Atlantic LNG in Point Lisas through one of its state-owned companies, has also been awarded major projects in Trinidad and Tobago recently through loan agreements with T&T’s Government for projects such as the Couva Children’s Hospital and sporting facilites including the National Aquatics Centre, The National Cycling Centre, plus three additional multipurpose sports facilites. This is not to mention previous awards such as UWI’s Debe Campus, the completion of the Scarborough hospital in Tobago or the National Acadamy of Performing Arts buildings, and the Prime Minister’s Residence to name a few. What is not apparent is whether or not Registered Architects are involved in any of these projects, which raises great concern to us over the protection of the public.
The average T&T citizen sees nothing wrong with an increased presence of state-owned Chinese construction firms, in fact many feel the strong work ethic of the Chinese is good for the T&T construction industry. However people employed or previously employed by T&T’s construction industry may beg to differ, especially as the remaining consultant and construction work for public projects continues to be extremely limited. Based on WAN’s article, one thing is for sure, those responsible for signing contracts and overseeing the work of Chinese Constructions firms in Trinidad and Tobago need to look very carefully at what is being delivered.