A QUALITY STANDARD APPLIED TO ALL CONSTRUCTION WORK?
Defect is such a ‘dirty’ word. Home owners shun it. Contractors hate it. Unfortunately, government agencies and Architects will have to deal with it. Occasionally, defects are the source of incomes to third-parties, such as, claim-consultants (some are lawyers); forensic-experts; and defect-rectification contractors, alongside the entire ‘eco-system’ that support the ‘defect-rectification’ industries from the tribunals to the supplier of materials and ‘quality-assessment’ course/standard provider. In reality, a discomfort for owners, are indeed ‘cari-makan’ tools/opportunity to others and I said it out loud on the basis that any ‘services’ that can solve people’s problem is a good industry with ‘profitability’.
So, the other issue related to defects are, what standards to apply? How to determine a defect is a defect? Who to determine what? When can mitigating action be taken? Why such measure be taken? Answering such is a ‘monumental efforts’ resulted in many man-hours and public-funded spending aka taskforce, committee, working-group and so-forth both at institutional and governmental level. However, this write-up only limit to a question, is CIS-7 a standard to be adopted generally to the construction industry?
Foremost, CIS-7 is a standard adopted by the CIDB, initially borrowed from Singapore’s CONQUAS system of quality assessment in the construction industry. It has since undergone various ‘metamorphosis’ and had been once dished out as the ‘knight in shimmering armour’ to be mandated by the Work Ministry in 2020, that has yet to see the ‘light of the day’. Unfortunately, CIS-7 of QLASSIC is not an acceptable ‘standalone’ industrial standards because they are quality assessment-standards, optional only if the parties decided to adopt when they go into a building contract.
Why it cannot be made, mandatory? Regardless if a building costs ten of thousands or millions, defects are generically applied and occur without any constraint of costs and value. However, such costs and values can determine if the quality of works can meet a certain performance standard, thus evaluative tools such as CIS-7 of QLASSIC and CONQUAS are designed for such, rendered these optional, not mandatory. As it stands now, CIS-7 of QLASSIC cannot be a subjected standards adopted in the court of law to be applied nationwide.
What if it is to be made mandatory? Such may have legal-repercussion throughout. Foremost, the UBBL only warrants the suitability of materials and workmanship with the ultimate question of what is defined as suitability? Whose standards? Under The Street, Drainage & Building Act 1974 (amended 2007) SDBA, the “principal submitting person” means a qualified person who submits building plans to the local authority for approval in accordance with this Act. Meaning he is the principal submitting person to undertake the statutory responsibility, thus the quality standards must be in accordance to his specifications, not CIS-7 of QLASSIC. So, how on earth can CIDB overrides the SDBA 2007?
Even causation in tort needs proof and that is not going to be easy by just relying on res ipsa loquitur. Construction law goes into the extent of ‘risk-allocation’ as to latent and patent defects that cast no meaning to the general public. The voluminous standards by the BSI, AS, Euro-Code and our MS, governing materials, tools, applications and so forth may only make sense to the professionals and are constantly changing.
So, where are we? PAM has objected to this application of CIS-7 of QLASSIC as national-standard. Knowing how things move within the ‘chain of deliveries’ architects will be ‘side-lined’, as reported. It will comes a time when a CIDB QLASSIC Assessor will be dictating to the Architects as to ‘which qualities prevailed’, while running-free if the building collapsed. Do Architects want this to be the reality?
 CIS-7:2014 Quality Assessment System for Building Construction Works
 Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB)
 Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS)
 Quality Assessment System in Construction (QLASSIC)
 <http://rehdainstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Mr.-Mohammad-Faizal-Abdul-Hamid.pdf>: the use of any standards is voluntary & compliance with this document does not in itself confer immunity from legal and contractual obligations.
 S.53 UBBL 1984
 S.3(e) SDBA 2007
 Latin maxim, meaning ‘let the thing (evidence) speaks for itself’, in law of evidence.
 Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM)
 Berita Arkitek BA (Feb 2021): PAM’s Feedback on the Draft CIS 7:2020
 Berita Arkitek BA (Feb 2021): Report of PAM Representatives on Government Standing Committees, Councils and Boards (Jawatankuasa Teknikal Standard Industri Pembinaan (CIS7) QLASSIC) by Ar. Steven Thang
 S.258 UBBL 1984
I am sharing these information with a caveat that these information is for educational purpose only and shall not be taken as an advice be it legal or otherwise. You should seek proper advice to your case with the relevant professionals. The author cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information so provided here.