Safety first for low-cost housing


The government has implemented a number of affordable housing projects in response to an increasing population. Construction firms are naturally keen to secure the contract to implement these lucrative projects.
The government recently invited tenders for the construction of affordable housing for low-income families in Yangon’s South Dagon Township, but as yet no construction firm has won the contract as the costs set by the government for building the apartments were too low. As a result, the government had to start the tender process again.
It seems as though both authorities and contractors place too much emphasis on costs and profits rather than on standards. Falling short of safety standards for housing for low-income families is unacceptable. Similarly, it is unreasonable to reduce the costs of construction simply because the amount of rent paid by tenants will be comparatively low. These apartments should be as safe as any other. It shouldn’t be necessary to remind anyone that the lives of these families are just as important as those of greater means.
The decent thing for authorities to do is to raise the stipulated costs for constructing the apartments and contractors should adhere to building standards. Any financial difficulties faced by projects should be solved through alternative means, such as bank loans or extra government funds.

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