The Malta Independent 6 December 2022, Tuesday
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Updated: Polidano says concrete at new power station not supplied by him, Siemens took quick action

Sunday, 7 June 2015, 12:00 Last update: about 9 years ago

Siemens orders Polidano to replace substandard concrete piles. Premeditated use of low standard concrete ‘common practice’ to win tenders - industry source

Speaking to this newsroom following a story broken by The Malta Independent on Sunday that concrete piles placed at the new Delimara power station have been found to be of a quality inferior to that ordered by Siemens, construction magnate Charles Pollidano told this newsroom that the concrete piles were not supplied by him. 

Asked to identify who supplied the concrete and if his plant was part of a consortium which supplied the concrete for piles at the new PowerStation, Mr Pollidano was reluctant to say who supplied the concrete but insisted that it wasn't Polidano. "We only supplied some of the iron rods used in the piling and drilled some of the holes," an agitated Charles Polidano insisted.

This newsroom is reliably informed that Siemens - the engineering, procurement and construction contractor to ElectroGas Malta - had insisted on testing all 260 concrete piles being placed for the foundations of the new Delimara power station.  It was found that six of the 40 piles laid so far to have been made of C32 quality concrete as opposed to the C45 quality concrete that it had contracted.

Speaking to this newsroom following the publication of the story Mr Polidano said that concrete piles could not be demolished once already secured into the ground, but a new one installed next to it. Never during a long and brash conversation did Mr Polidano deny not fixing the piles.

In a statement issued earlier by Polidano's lawyer, Jean Paul Sammut, with reference to the article published this morning on the Malta Independent on Sunday, the management denied allegations and declared that the company's job was solely and only for piling works, and that the group was not in any way whatsoever involved in the supply of concrete materials for the new power station.

Sources told this newsroom that the supply of concrete was by a consortium made up of three leading Maltese suppliers of concrete.

Speaking in the morning on the Labour Party's TV station ONE TV, Minister for Energy and Health Konrad Mizzi confirmed the story published in the Malta Independent on Sunday and said that quick action had to be taken over inferior quality concrete found in a small number of concrete foundation piles at the new power station. This was in contrast with what had taken place at Mater Dei Hospital he said.  He described this as a positive development because quick action was taken and defective concrete was immediately removed.

Industry sources speaking with this newspaper have expressed concern over the use of lower-than-contracted quality concrete, pointing out how the practice is particularly prevalent when it comes to public contracts, and that concrete cost-cutting is by no means limited to the Delimara power station and Mater Dei Hospital. 

The industry sources also pointed out that some contractors resort to these tactics so as to win contracts in the first place, by being able to place lower bids. With the premeditated use of inferior, and cheaper, concrete, bidders are able to submit lower bids that win them the contracts, knowing full well that their low bids will be covered in the long run by the cost savings accrued from the use of cheaper concrete.

A concrete pile is a component in a pile foundation which is driven into the ground to ensure that the foundation is deep. Pile foundations can use large numbers of concrete piles during their construction, with the piles connecting to the footers of the foundation. The piles distribute the weight of the finished structure safely, reducing the risk of structural failure or collapse.

Last March, the Polidano Group said a €1.2 million BG 30 Piling Rig equipped with the latest technology was to be used at the new Delimara power station site to drill hundreds of piles prior to the construction of the platform that will house the new generation plant.



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