Turkey tightens grip on construction sector

Turkey tightens grip on construction sector

Gülistan Alagöz ANKARA
Turkey tightens grip on construction sector

The Environment and Urban Planning Ministry will ban contractors that jeopardize lives and property and do business contrary to law, according to a communique published in the Official Gazette on Dec 27. AA Photo

The Turkish government has unveiled new measures to harness the construction sector to eliminate “rotten apples” amid growing outcry over safety weaknesses and “unearned income” gains in the sector.

For years experts have been asking for a redefinition of the framework of the sector, which has not been regulated and audited properly, but an increasing number of accidents that have killed dozens of workers have highlighted problems in the industry.

As such, the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry has begun to work on a regulation that would audit contractors’ technical and financial competence, classify them and increase punishments.

On Dec. 27, the ministry published a communiqué on the “methods and principles for the cancellation of contractor licenses and actions taken against site managers” in the Official Gazette, in a move that is seen as the first step to drafting a broader Contractor Law.

According to the communiqué, the ministry will ban contractors that jeopardize lives and property and do business contrary to law.

The licenses of contractors who are handed administrative fines three times and who do not pay their tax and premium debts will also be annulled, according to the new regulation.

Moreover, a contractor whose license number is cancelled will be prohibited from acquiring new projects until the termination of the duration of his punishment. His partners, business associates or employees will not be able to receive licenses during this period.

The ministry also increased efforts to monitor sector players as it will record all documents into a Contractor Information System to detect missing or erroneous forms.

“Our ministry has begun studies to take the contractor sector under control. The published communiqué is the first step in the Contractor Law,” a ministry source told daily Hürriyet.

“The ones that violates the law and victimize citizens will be banned from the job,” the source said.
The ministry official also announced that the ministry would unveil a second regulation that will classify contractor works.

The deadly elevator collapse at the construction site of a luxurious tower in Istanbul that cost the life of 10 workers in September put the irregularities and safety weaknesses of the sector under the spotlight, fueling calls for the government to tighten its control over the qualifications of contractor companies and labor conditions. 

The complaints about the faults of the construction sector have also been backed by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who has been insisting Turkey needs a comprehensive change in the construction sector that addresses all aspects of the business.