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ACCT: Specialists in safeguarding

Evolving any region in the world takes infrastructure development and talented construction professionals, but who’s watching over these groups? In the case of Tanzania, it’s the Association of Citizen Contractors; Endeavour Magazine decided to look at the association a little closer, to see how they are supporting their country’s industry.

It can be difficult to determine exactly what certain associations do or who they have been set up to protect, but in the case of the Association of Citizen Contractors Tanzania (ACCT), the directives are exceptionally clear. Founded in February 2011, ACCT has come into being both to safeguard Tanzanian contractors and encourage exemplar professionalism from them as well.

When you think about the complexities of modern infrastructure and construction, it is fantastically reassuring to know that respected associations are put in place to oversee the levels of dedication and professionalism required. ACCT is very vocal in terms of what it hopes to achieve in this regard:

“ACCT aims to be the leading construction industry representative body in Tanzania and east Africa. We want to promote the image of local contractors by enabling members to deliver a professional construction service and create a fair environment that is conducive to the profitable and efficient operation of contracting business, to the benefit of both members and their clients.”

We know that trade associations tend to protect the interests of members only, but here, there is a genuine sense of stewardship towards clients as well as contractors. This responsibility is inspired by the associations’ core values, which run themes of trust, integrity, respect and quality workmanship through ACCT’s very core.

Knowing what the association aims to do leads us to ask who can actually join. ACCT reveals that there are two different types of membership available: “There are two types of membership namely; ordinary members and affiliate members. Ordinary members are all local contractors registered with the Contractor’s Registration Board (CRB). All categories and classes are eligible.
Affiliate members are those who are construction materials and equipment suppliers, construction materials manufacturers and financial institutions, i.e. banks and insurance companies.”

Basically, if you are even remotely connected to the construction industry, there is a membership waiting for you and if you choose to join. This blanket approach is vital for creating a universally agreed set of best practice rules, whilst encouraging everyone to take responsibility for his or her individual parts; each member is bound by the same stringent standards and codes of practice as everybody else.

Overseen by a diverse committee of construction industry experts, ACCT has a number of realistic short-term goals in place, as well as long-term agendas that are always being worked towards. Each goal seems simplistic, but when you combine them all together, you get an idea of exactly how the Tanzanian construction industry could work if everyone chipped in and committed to doing their part. The name of the game is transparency, pride and accountability, both in the short and long-term;

“Our short-term goals are to prepare and organise tailored training for members, to develop links with suppliers and manufacturers of construction materials and equipment, and to connect with other contractors’ associations within and outside the country to address current challenges facing contractors and have a round table dialogue with relevant Government bodies to discuss how to solve them.”

ACCT’s goals support the belief that communication, education and interaction are the building blocks of a better future – all of which is also supported by their long-term goals: “Our long-term goals are to establish an association’s bank, to open a tailor-made vocational training college for all construction trades, to establish commercial investment to enable the sustainability of the association and to help citizen contractors to tender for work internationally.”

Essentially, we read these goals much like a shopping list for guaranteed success, profit and satisfaction for everybody within and touched by the construction industry. There’s no downside, other than the time it will take to see them through. In particular, it is beneficial to have round-table discussions in any industry, as communication and the sharing of ideas lead to the natural evolution of bigger and better solutions. However, joining ACCT also has a number of other fantastic benefits. For example, “When you become a member of ACCT you will easily access tender information, industry intelligence, mediation services, contract downloads, cost reductions and credibility.”

There are many more upsides to becoming an ACCT member, but these are some of the most important. It goes without saying that having a one-stop resource would be exceptionally useful in any industry, but given how fluid and ever-changing construction is, having that portal that allows you to download legislation and even contract templates is immeasurably handy. It’s also true that companies naturally enjoy a higher profile and greater sense of credibility once a professional association membership has been granted. Project support is also offered in the sense of supplier discounts being leveraged. This is an invaluable helping hand for any fledgling or established construction professional, as is the ability to apply for working capital from banking institutions with the full support of a recognised trade association.

With a constant need for new and improved infrastructure, affordable housing and commercial properties, Tanzania is not going to let up in terms of construction demands. Therefore, it is vital that there is a governing body of sorts, or at least a watchful eye that makes sure everyone is doing their bit to maintain the good name and reputation of the industry. ACCT is that watchful eye and it has seriously ambitious plans to help every one of its members. We can’t wait to see their plans come to fruition.