Forum: Tender specifications must keep up with the times

I refer to Forum contributor Wang Heng Thean's letter (Dismayed by degree requirement in tender documents, June 24).

Mr Wang made a valid point that degree holders are not necessarily more competent or have better management skills.

As a civil engineering degree holder who has been in the construction industry for 12 years, I do not see myself as more competent than a non-degree holder with, say, 20 years' experience.

It is also worth noting that not many Singaporeans are willing to work in the construction industry, given the nature of our work. Almost half of my cohort ended up working in non-engineering fields, and those who chose to work in the industry have mostly held jobs in government entities, statutory boards or engineering consultancies.

This reduces the pool of personnel who meet the requirements of the tender specifications, as most foreign engineering degrees are not recognised in Singapore.

I also implore government entities to revise their tender specifications in accordance with current technology and market supply.

There is also still a requirement to submit printed progress photographs and the soft copies in CDs. Many laptops no longer have CD-ROM drives, and submission can be done over e-mail.

Several suppliers have also told me that the tender specifications for materials are outdated. For example, newer materials with higher performance but different technical specifications have become the industry norm.

I understand that project officers might not remove or amend the specifications because these have been the basis of tender documents for many years, but time and technology have moved on.

Toh Siew Wee

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