Despite being one of the largest ingredients of our GDP (varying between 8 to 10% over the last decade), the construction industry seems to be the laggard when it comes to a uniform quality assessment system for contracting firms who form a major chunk of the estimated INR 2,800 Billion construction industry in India.

Even though many companies have obtained ISO 9001 certifications over the years, there does not seem to be one rating agency or certification that covers the quality of the constructed building or facility. This poses several challenges and risks to the industry as comparative view of performance across different sub-sectors of industry like heavy engineering, infrastructure, buildings, built environment including interiors & fit outs etc cannot be made while assessing the performance of contractors with regard to quality of construction.

While several rating agencies are available for credit rating like CRISIL, ICRA etc., there does not seem to be any agencies specifically looking at performance evaluation and rating of contracting companies in India similar to Building & Construction Authority of Singapore (BCAS). What we have is broad categorization into classes A, B etc which is based on volume of work done with no emphasis on quality of work done. What we need is a technical quality rating agency or an authority that evaluates the different and diverse practices in our country and validates quality of construction on a common platform. This will enable all to draw conclusions on the capabilities of contractors when evaluating them for pre-qualification for works. It would also reduce the risk of failures, quality non conformances as well as provide a level playing field for different categories of contractors based on merit as assessed on past & ongoing projects. No doubt it is a large & controversial subject but something that ought to be done for the overall good of the industry.