BangkokTransport

Bidding method for train station redesign project inappropriate

PHOTO: A probe found the bidding method for the nameplate at Bang Sue Grand Station inappropriate. (via Tanaphat Chotijiraphan/Flickr)

An investigation into the 33-million-baht redesign project for Bang Sue Grand Station revealed that the selection method to choose a nameplate and logo designer was inappropriate. The probe, headed by Sorapong Paithoonpong, a deputy interior permanent secretary, revealed its findings yesterday.

After His Royal Majesty King Vajiralongkorn decided to rename the station “Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal” in September last year, The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) hired Unique Engineering and Construction Plc (Uniq) for the redesign of the biggest train station in Southeast Asia.

The SRT said that the redesign called for very specific expertise so they used a “special method” of bidding for the gig. They claimed the redesign work involved improving completed construction work that was still within its warranty period creating special circumstances.

The probe team suggested that the method used to hire a contractor should have been changed to open bidding to promote transparency. According to the law, special methods are permitted only in situations where a project necessitates unique materials that can only be obtained from a single supplier.

However, the urgency of a project alone does not justify the use of special methods.

The huge budget for the project was also addressed in the probe. It asserted that, by retaining certain characters from the old nameplate that were still in good condition, the budget for the project could have been reduced.

The outcome of the investigation is informational only, no action on their findings is mandatory. It is up to the SRT to choose whether to proceed or re-evaluate the project.

The probe did find that the work itself complied with proper regulations. The SRT had procured the correct certifications and carried out safety and engineering inspections as required. The bidding process was also carried out properly, just using an unnecessary special method lacking transparency.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.