Construction prices hold on to the past // The Accounts Chamber analyzed the progress of the estimated cost reform

The Accounts Chamber again checked the actions of the Ministry of Construction within the framework of the reform of sectoral pricing – this time the state auditors agreed to consider a new delay in the introduction of the resource method for determining the estimated prices for budgetary objects as a way to avoid the negative consequences of a sharp change in the calculation methodology. Among the new claims of the joint venture are the lack of a specific timeframe for the full-fledged launch of the reform and the low rate of filling the information system, into which prices for construction resources must be “loaded”. The Ministry of Construction is already preparing measures of responsibility for companies’ failure to provide data and preferences when concluding contracts for those who have fulfilled this requirement.

The Accounts Chamber (JV) analyzed the actions of the authorities in the framework of the reform of construction pricing – the topic, the report notes, is in the area of ​​increased attention of state auditors, since it carries the risks of inflating budgetary spending on construction. Recall that the reform began after the scandal with the overstatement of estimates at the Vostochny cosmodrome and the Olympic facilities in Sochi. Its goal is to introduce a unified base of estimated standards – FSIS CA, calculated according to a new resource method (monitoring market prices and calculating estimates based on them) instead of indexing outdated reference books, and its regular updating.

The launch of the new system was originally planned for 2018 but was delayed until May 2019. Then the joint venture criticized the Ministry of Construction for the conservation of the old pricing system “with all the shortcomings.” Since the FSIS TsS was filling up very slowly, the Ministry of Construction was forced to postpone its commissioning again and provide for a transition period – from the second quarter of 2022, a mixed resource-index method will be used.

Now the joint venture has admitted: the current system has been maintained in working order and prepared for the implementation of the new method, and the gradual transition “will allow avoiding the negative consequences inevitable in the transition to its application at once.”

However, the report says, the Ministry of Construction has not yet set a deadline by which the industry should completely switch to the resource method. The joint venture also pays attention to the problem of filling the FSIS CA – only a third of the organizations that are obliged to do this transfers data to it, and in the opinion of the auditors, additional incentives are needed. Earlier, we note, the issue of using only the prices and materials uploaded to the FSIS CA within the framework of the state order was discussed (see Kommersant dated February 5). The Ministry of Construction told Kommersant that proposals should be submitted to the government by the end of the third quarter, while the department, together with Glavgosexpertiza, prepared draft amendments to the laws on public procurement and procurement of state-owned companies and on the priority in concluding contracts for the supply of resources with organizations that provide data to FSIS TsS.

The procedure for the development of estimated standards, state auditors note, has been improved, but questions remain: government agencies (including regional ones) rarely show initiative, there are difficulties with the selection of sites for conducting regulatory observations and providing specialists with access to them.

As a result, according to the report, “the development of estimate norms is carried out mainly by state-owned companies in relation to highly specialized norms.” Often, the development time is delayed, including due to the lack of sanctions – 60% of the norms planned for 2020 have been postponed from 2019. The Ministry of Construction sees an opportunity to speed up their development in simplifying the procedure (the new procedure was adopted at the beginning of the year) and in the work of the initiators themselves (for example, due to the timely transfer of materials and acceptance of results) – however, sometimes long periods are due to objective reasons.

As the chairman of the board of the association “National Association of Manufacturers of Building Materials” Alexander Ruchev notes, the problem of the low occupancy rate of the FSIS TsS is one of the factors hampering the reform, since manufacturers are not interested in providing prices. “The system needs to be refined – at least, take into account such important factors as seasonal price fluctuations, inflation, and so on,” he said.

Evgeniya Kryuchkova

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