This 3D design of the under construction Bahir Dar branch office of the Ministry of Revenues showcases what will be built for 270 million Br. The building is expected to be completed in two and a half years.

The Ministry of Revenues has started the construction of the fourth regional branch office building in Bahir Dar, Amhara Regional State, for 270.7 million Br.

The 10-storey building will be equipped with both large and small meeting halls, a cafeteria and underground parking. The Ministry is currently paying 12 million Br in rent a year for its current branch office.

The construction of the building was launched two weeks ago and is expected to be completed within two and a half years. Covering a total area of 5,000Sqm of land, the building will have a large meeting hall that can accommodate 700 people, six small meeting halls, a cafeteria that can seat 500, and underground parking for 60 vehicles.

The building, which will also have two guard shelters, a generator and pump houses, will rest on a 2,850Sqm area of land. Upon completion, the building will serve the 500 employees of the branch office.

Close to 5,000 taxpayers are served under the branch in Bahir Dar, which last year generated more than two-thirds of the 4.1 billion Br in revenues the Ministry had hoped to collect from there. However, this amount far exceeded - sometimes double the amount - what the bureau collected the previous three years since 2016.

Higher costs for rent obliged the Ministry to construct the building, according to Umi Abajemal, communications head at the Ministry, which was able to collect just under 200 billion Br during the last fiscal year and planned to raise 271 billion Br in the current fiscal year.

To hire a company that will construct the building, the Ministry floated a tender this May. A total of 10 companies have responded to the bid, and all of them reached the technical evaluation stage. NKH Construction and Agegn Demisse Building Contractor did not make it to the financial stage.

SA, the winning company, GAD, SATCON, Afrotsion, Desalegn Asrade, Bright, FE and Berhan Tobiaw are the contractors that reached the financial evaluation stage.

SA Construction Plc, which previously built the Derba Cement buildings in Chancho and the small-scale cement factory in Dejen, has already broken ground to start the construction of the building, according to Afework Kitaw, co-owner of the company.

Berhan Tobiaw Building Contractor offered 370 million Br for the project, considering its liquidity crunch and the depreciation of the Birr during the project period, according to Natnael Simachew, technical manager of the company.

"The competition was very tough and surprising at the end," said Natnael.

The Ethiopian Construction Design & Supervision Works Corporation (which was established in 2015 after the merger of the Water Works Design & Supervision Enterprise, the Construction Design enterprise, and the Transport Construction Design enterprise) was awarded the project contract.

The Ministry awarded the Corporation the project without undergoing the design bidding process in May 2018 that cost 2.1 million Br. The Corporation was hired without a bidding process due to a shortage of time, according to Adnew Ayssa, a project management process coordinator at the Ministry.

The Ministry should have arranged for a design competition to hire the designer, according to Amanuel Teshome, president of the Ethiopian Consulting Engineers & Architects Association.

“The more open the competition, the greater the quality of construction will be,” said Amanuel, who believes design is more important than the construction of buildings. “A building has to be properly designed beforehand. Constructing buildings without wisely designing the plan is completely dismal."

Amanuel says that such landmark public buildings should be designed through design competitions in which the client invites designers to come up with their respective design proposals and compete, according to Amanuel.

Signature Consulting Architects & Engineers Plc will supervise the construction of the building for monthly payments of 80,000 Br. Signature, which consulted on the construction of Debark University, the Ethiopian Standards Agency Training Centre, and the National Lottery's Shashemene branch building, was hired in May after it won the bid.

The Ministry also launched the construction of its branch office buildings in Hawassa and Adama last year and in Meqelle a couple of months ago. Along with the Bahir Dar office, the Ministry will spend 870 million Br for the four branches.

"We'll also start the construction of the Jimma branch office building soon," Umi told Fortune.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 08,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1058]

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