Assuring quality construction for the benefit of Afghans' security
November 21, 2012
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- NATO's primary objective in Afghanistan is to enable the Afghan authorities to provide effective security across the country so it can never again be a refuge for terrorists. Along with conducting security operations and mentoring Afghan National Security Forces, building adequate facilities where troops may live, work and train is vital to promoting a strong security force.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has constructed dozens of installations to support NATO's objectives with dozens more under construction, including the Regional Military Training Center in Kandahar province. The installation will be the site of basic warrior training, follow-on specialty training and day-to-day operations for up to 3,000 Afghan National Army personnel. The project includes the design, materials, labor and equipment to construct administration buildings, dining facilities, a fitness center, medical clinic, small arms storage, parking areas, barracks and more. Valued at $42 million, the RMTC in Kandahar is currently about 50 percent complete. A local Afghan company was awarded the contract.
Benny Apuya, quality assurance and construction representative and Ira Dorsett, a structural engineer, both with the Afghanistan Engineer District - South, visit the RMTC project site several times a week to follow progress and make sure construction complies with International Building Code standards. Accessing quality materials and highly-qualified labor is a challenge in war-torn Afghanistan, which is why quality assurance is hugely important, explained Apuya, who deployed from the USACE Savannah District.
"It's about making sure the quality of construction is what it should be so that the facility will perform satisfactorily," he said.
To that end, Apuya and Dorsett inspect construction, making sure it aligns with what is described in the project's plans and specifications. Together, Apuya and Dorsett have more than 40 years of construction experience.
"When we find a deficiency, we let the contractor know right away what is unacceptable and the contractor develops a corrective action plan to bring the project into compliance with the designs and specs," explained Dorsett, who serves as the project engineer on the RMTC and deployed from the USACE New Orleans District.
"My primary responsibility is contract administration and to ensure quality product delivery while minimizing delays," said Dorsett.
Apuya and Dorsett are authorized specific technical and administrative functions. Their education, training, experience and expertise allow them to identify potential problems and coordinate corrective actions with contractors.
"The bottom line is we want to make sure the RMTC is a safe and reliable facility. One that, if properly maintained, can serve as an important military installation for the benefit of Afghans for years to come," said Apuya.