Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
Ma gave the instruction after the bureau briefed him on methods of ensuring the safety of school buildings in the wake of the Sept. 21 earthquake.
He said the bureau should invite construction professionals -- such as architects and civil engineers -- to work as consultants for the city's 232 public schools to help them make professional judgments related to construction projects.
"These professionals can work as `family doctors' to offer their opinions to schools," the mayor said.
During the briefing, bureau staff said five buildings in Taipei have been identified as "dangerous" schools sites, while another 60 "require caution" after the massive quake. All 65 buildings require repairs to ensure their structural safety.
The briefing also revealed that another 37 school buildings did not have valid paperwork such as construction licenses and proper building permits.
Hung Che-yi (
"The short-term goal is to make sure schools with damaged buildings can resume teaching activities as soon as possible. The coming winter vacation will be an ideal period for construction," Hung said.
To compensate for the fact that school teachers are not construction professionals, the bureau also plans to set up a consulting committee made up of construction professionals to review plans for school constructions.
"Properly qualified committee members can conduct strict and professional reviews of these projects," Hung said.
The bureau also expressed its desire to hire PCM firms to supervise school construction to ensure quality control.
PCM firms would carry out the task of coordinating with schools, architects in charge of designs and inspections, as well as construction companies.
Deputy Mayor Ou Chin-der (
Citing the construction of the World Trade Center in Taipei as an example, Ou said projects under PCM supervision proved to be economical, overturning the commonly held belief that involving PCM in construction projects just encourages cost overruns.
He said to introduce PCM in major public construction projects has become common practice in advanced countries during the past two to three decades, but remains a relatively new concept in Taiwan.
Ho Yu-jung (
"This is a great initiative because it will help schools focus on education instead of involving themselves in the construction business," Ho said.
Ma said he agreed with the bureau's plan to set up a professional committee to review school construction projects.
Although supporting the bureau's idea to involve PCM in school construction projects, Ma urged the bureau to study its feasibility in detail before implementing the new policy.
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