This chapter aims to summarise the system for the implementation of construction projects, such as repair of public buildings, heavily damaged houses, water and sewerage infrastructure etc. The repair of lightly damaged houses—in which thousands of properties received minor repairs—was handled differently, and that is described later.
I was pressed by Mr Koschnick to start action as soon as I arrived in Mostar, and so a system had to be created out of the blue immediately. I devised it, and wrote the contract forms in a few hours. With no time for reflection and consultation, I had to rely on familiar principles, in the full knowledge that I might be making errors. Happily, and more by luck than judgement, the system created during my first week proved to be durable and successful, although details were refined as time went by.
I did the (to me) obvious thing. I envisaged the appointment of local independent consultants to prepare detailed contract documents (including drawings and bills of quantity) and to supervise on site. I wrote a consultancy contract for the purpose and fixed a fairly generous fee. Construction work would go to competitive tender, and I wrote a construction contract based loosely on normal British forms, but greatly simplified.
Contractors should be pre-qualified, so that a tender committee could normally simply choose the cheapest offer. I would appoint, as soon as possible, project managers to run this process. Contract documents would be as full as possible so as to minimise arguments and claims later. Variations, extensions of time and payments should be authorised by issue of a standard form and approved by the signatures of consultant, the EUAM project manager and me. I felt that one manager could handle contracts to the value of about DM5 million per year. At local cost rates, this was about a two per cent fee equivalent (if secretaries, cars and office costs were added). In the event, appointment of staff was so restricted by the EU that the fee at peak activity was one per cent. At one stage, a particular individual was running projects at the rate of equivalent to DM19 million per year!
The approach seemed to me normal and obvious. Certainly I could claim no credit for wisdom or prescience. Some time later, however, I began to realise that it was controversial. It differed from the approach of the World Bank, which did not become involved in implementation management at all. The EC had never before set up such project management teams at site level, with delegated powers to write, sign and supervise contracts. Local municipalities wanted us to give them the money to administer. They objected to our ‘hands-on’ approach. They expected the EUAM