Tracing bask its roots to the Burma Engineering Congress 100 years ago, the Myanmar Engineering Society (MES) is intensively engaged in maintaining and uplifting the standards and the prestige of the engineering and architectural professions. U Aung Myint, President of the Myanmar Engineering Society, leads these efforts, working hard to enable engineers and architects to participate with their full capability and expertise in the development of the country.
European Times: Which are the greatest challenges to which you are devoting your energy as a professional’s society?
U Aung Myint: We are working on grading and certification in the construction sector. Those who bother with the expense of testing to ensure their materials will withstand the test of time may soon be rewarded with a higher “grade” under a scheme introduced by the Myanmar Engineering Council (MEC). There is a need to differentiate between the stronger and weaker companies. We will grade all the construction and engineering companies in Yangon so that it is evident which type of projects will suit them. Once this is complete, developers will be able to pick a suitable contractor for their projects quickly.
Another project that we are lobbying the government for is reserve land for low-cost projects. If you look at the increasing population, cheap housing is urgently needed. There are enough apartments in Yangon for affluent people and those with a medium income. It is positive that the Ministry of Construction has commissioned several low-cost housing projects in Yangon.
European Times: What is your comment on the increasing number of high-rise buildings? Are you doing earthquake resistance testing?
U Aung Myint: The number of high-rise buildings joining the Yangon skyline needs to be monitored as the city struggles to cater for a growing demand for offices and homes. The important thing is we have to set development control as the present regulations are not strong enough.
Regarding the second question, we are working on a new analysis project which will use Rapid Visual Screening technology used for seismic evaluation, which was developed by the American Society of Civil Engineering.
European Times: Which other sectors, apart from low-cost construction projects are attractive for investors?
U Aung Myint: As I have mentioned on many occasions, manufacturing in Myanmar is one of the main sectors supporting the country’s economic growth. It is an exciting time for the manufacturing sector, as foreign investment and multinational companies come into the market. As this industry moves up the value chain, it is time for local players to step up and be the agents of progress. Companies can achieve this by investing in new technologies and equipment and industry professionals arming themselves with technical knowledge and skills.