In a move to check poor road works, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has doubled the defect liability period (DLP) for contractors. This is in addition to several other stringent new quality check mechanisms.
In the current DLP system, contractors are responsible for fixing any defects, including potholes, found on newly constructed roads for a term of three years for asphalt roads and five years for concrete roads. In the new road contracts to be tendered in the next week, the DLP term has been raised to 10 years for concrete roads and five years for asphalt roads.
“By raising the DLP period, there is more accountability for resurfaced roads as each road contract exceeds Rs 100 crore. This should deter contractors from cutting costs on quality as it is more expensive to maintain large percentages of the roads under extended DLP terms,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner S V R Srinivas, in charge of the roads department.
Additionally, the corporation has also introduced a “maintenance” clause in the new tenders that makes it mandatory for contractors to maintain a minimum 10 per cent of the newly constructed roads.
“The DLP conditions mainly include fixing minor defects such as cracks on the surface, and potholes. However, with each passing year, the road undergoes some wear-and-tear. Hence, we have included a maintenance clause which mandates that the contractor must treat a certain percentage of the top layer of each new road every year,” Srinivas said.
“ Six months before the DLP expires, we will audit the roads, and if it does not meet standards, the roads will have to be resurfaced again,” he added.
To evaluate the condition of the newly resurfaced/constructed roads, this year, the BMC has also included tenders worth Rs 10 lakh each for Roughness Index monitors and Bump Integrators.
“These are part of the deflectometer technology that assess riding quality of roads. The Roughness Index measures the thickness of the new roads to see if it matches the standards set by the Central Roads Research Institute, Delhi. The Bump Integrator is a vehicle that travels at a set speed and evaluates how smooth the ride is, while its digital technology records the exact location of the bumps from the starting point,” Srinivas said.
In September, while the Bombay High Court was hearing a suo motu PIL against the deteriorating condition of the city’s roads, the civic body said it would increase the performance guarantee of contracts. This has been raised from 3 per cent for all road contracts to 20 per cent for companies that bid 20 per cent less than the estimated road cost.
“If the firm bid 5 per cent more or 5 per cent less than the estimated cost, the performance guarantee remains at 3 per cent. For those that bid 20 per cent lower than the estimated cost, in case the work is not up to the mark, we will hold back the 20 per cent performance guarantee,” a senior civic official had said.