Premature failures of district road construction equipment: a case of Northern Uganda
This study is about road construction equipment imported from china by the government of Uganda in 2011 that prematurely failed during their designed lifetime. The factors that led to their premature failure at various districts of Uganda were determined. In this case, the Northern Uganda Districts were selected viz: Kitgum, Lira, Gulu, Arua and Adjumani were used for the study. The method for data collection included physical observation of the equipment, library research, oral interviews and discussions with various stakeholders namely: CAOs, District engineers, and mechanical staffs. In some aspects of the study, Gulu Regional Mechanical Workshops (GRMWs) for Northern Uganda was used as a case study to map regional failure of the equipment. The information obtained includes; equipment specifications, maintenance practices including record of periodic inspections, record of repairs and maintenance. The status of staffing of the mechanical sections were also investigated including, level of staffing, qualifications and frequency of refresher trainings. It has been established that, the specifications of equipment supplied to Uganda is consistent with contractual specifications. It was also found that from the districts, many of the equipment were subjected to heavier task than the designed tasks like wheel loader, vibro roller, excavator and motor graders designed for light and medium duties were actually subjected to heavy duties. No record of repairs, periodic inspections and maintenance was available above all the clock hour instruments that guides the maintenance schedule for most of these machines were found not working. The study also found that there is inadequate staffing where the municipalities of Gulu, Kitgum and Lira have no Officer in-charge (OC) mechanical. Additionally, the few staff at the districts are not qualified and lacked frequent refresher trainings where the last and only training was conducted in 2012. Standard operating Procedures, (SoPs) were not available in the mechanical workshops this made it difficult to track status of the equipment for planning. These multiple management weaknesses have contributed to the premature failures of the road construction equipment at the various districts.