Why may the State Council on construction be postponed?

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Why may the State Council on construction be postponed?
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The President of the Estimator-Engineers’ Union, Pavel Goriachkin, shares his opinions

In February, our journal published an acute interview, “Price formation reforming for 4.7 bln: another muddle or outright corruption?” In March, the discussion continued.  

A telephone conversation

To remind you, in the interview (our most read article of the month) with our journal, the President of the Estimator-Engineers’ Union and Director of the Russian Constructors’ Association Department for expert and analytic work and price formation in construction, Pavel Goriachkin, criticized the approaches of the Federal Center for Price Formation (FCPF) in the sphere of construction and the construction materials industry to the reforming of price formation and cost estimates in construction.

Besides this, the interview contained disclosures of supposed corrupt schemes in which, from Mr Goriachkin’s point of view, dome officials and organizations are involved, including FCPF, some industrial institutes, etc.

After the publication of the interview, the Head of FCPF, Sergei Fokin (who is, by the way, a Doctor of Medical Science, an Honorary Health Official, an Honoured Doctor of the RF, and was assigned to the position last November) phoned the editorial office.  He asked us about the editorial position and got the answer that the editorial position is to give the floor to experts on this issue, one of whom is Pavel Goriachkin.

In the course of the conversation, we invited Mr Fokin to speak on the acute issues of price formation reformation in the pages of our journal. No reply to our proposal ever came.  

Did not stay long

Recently, on March 30th, there appeared on the official website of FCPF a piece which said that, “Sergei Fokin has relinquished his duties as Head of the FCPF due to a transfer to another appointment, and Irina Lishchenko, Deputy Head of FCPS, has assumed the office”.

We asked a man whose principled position was stated in the interview with our journal to comment on the news. You know who we mean - Pavel Goriachkin, the President of the Estimator-Engineers’ Union.   


— Mr Goriachkin, how do you assess the developments in the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities?

— For the last year and a half, the FCPS has changed heads four times: Ermolaev, then Chabdarov, then Fokin, and now Lishchenko.  

At the same time, the third Deputy Minister supervising this sphere has changed: first it was Reilyan, then Sierra, and now Khamit Mavliyarov.

And pay attention: Irina Lishchenko was appointed not as the Head of FCPS but of the PP. In fact the PP is actually the head of the organization, having the same rights and responsibilities, but the status itself means that another leader is likely to come along later.  

It strikes one that the former Vice-President of the “Olimpstroy” GC, Mavliyarov, uses his own people. One of his former workfellows, Victor Pryadein, having also occupied the position of the first vice-president of “Olimpstroy”, has already been assigned to head the NOSTROY administration. Irina Lishchenko also used to be vice-president of “Olimpstroy” and also worked with Mr Mavliyarov. The new Deputy Minister is seen to be strengthening his position in the Ministry of Construction and appointing his people to significant positions. This not something extraordinary, it’s business as usual…  


— At least Mr Mavliyarov is a professional constructor, which is good, isn’t it?

— I hope so, and Irina Lishchenko is a specialist in economy and finance more than in construction. Anyway, it is better than a doctor, a sportsman or a musician…

In short, a person not from our estimator-engineer community. But she has so much work – over the top! 


— So, we may hope that the FCPF will not hold tenders at which they will pay one of their cronies 157m of budget money for a book already written by you?  

— I cannot say…Don’t forget that the PCPF is a structure supervised by the Ministry of Construction. They are only an executive structure, and the Ministry is the concept-forming body.

I get the impression that there are not too many people willing to head the FCPF. As they say, there is no queue…

— Of course! One may go straight to jail from this post, as happened with Evgeny Ermolaev...

— Yes, this ‘holy place’ has become a bit dangerous, and nobody wants to be responsible for everybody.  This may be the reason for the delay in appointing Mr Fokin’s successor, which was more than a week and a half. All that time, the FCPF was working without a senior official. I can only sympathize with Irina Lishchenko, and how it goes, only time will tell.


— Do you think the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities and the FCPF are coordinating their famous program “400 days”?  

 — Almost nobody talks about it now. The last time I heard about this was last December, when the structure was being supervised by Elena Sierra. Now we hear about “reformation”, “action plans”, etc, but we have not seen these plans. They have not been formalized and presented to the community. They seem to exist, but in fact…  

I suspect that there is no plan, but instead we are moving around in the dark…


— And what should be done in particular, to cut it short?

— In short, until we correct the costing standards database – the foundation of the whole system – all other things, such as price formation, enlarged norms and requirements, resource method, basic indices, programs and approaches, are secondary.  So why are we talking? We should correct what has been done wrong in the past.


— Have you got any inside information concerning the coming State Council on construction? Will there be a serious talk on price formation? And if so, when will it take place?

— I want to say that the terms of holding the State Council are not clear yet. I imagine that it will not take place until autumn.


— What a statement! What is it based on?

— On the fact that several groups headed by the State Council secretary, the President’s assistant, and the former Minister of Transportation of the RF, Igor Levitin, supposedly preparing the State Council Presidium are now working on different issues. All these sittings are planned, but which of them will be held first, I do not know. But I repeat that I have a strong feeling that the State Council on construction will not be held in May, nor in summer. It is likely to be put off till autumn.


— If this is so, what is the cause, do you think?

— I think that holding the State Council now is pointless: neither the Ministry nor the construction community have an integral understanding of the issues they should consider at the State Council. Among these are shared-equity construction, self-regulation, technical regulation, utilities, and, of course, price formation. We do not see a formulated position on any of these issues. And it is very unreasonable to come to the State Council without preparing these issues. So, holding the State Council in the near future makes no sense.


— Well, we shall see how events develop. Thank you, Mr Goriachkin, for your interesting commentary.