Please see below a translated statement made by the Caixa Econômica Federal (see the original in Portuguese here) in response to the demolition of two buildings constructed under the Minha Casa, Minha Vida (“My House, My Life”) program, in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro (more information on this case can be seen by clicking here):
“Caixa Econômica Federal [Caixa] is a state owned company that has a distinct position in the market place. Amongst the many programs undertaken by the government, the Minha Casa, Minha Vida has become the most noticeable in terms of the reach achieved. There have been over 2.5 million contracted units, with over 1.3 million already delivered – meeting the needs of various income groups across the country.
In order to bring these projects into fruition, Caixa relies on a wide group of professionals formed of qualified engineers and architects – many of whom are specialists in a range of areas. Whilst continually keeping line with company ethics and other internal regulations, these professional also are attentive to the pertinent technical norms.
Financial viability of real estate development projects falls under these technical responsibilities in observance with the framework of parameters, whilst ensuring that core values are coherently abided to – particularly as public financial resources are involved. Execution-related responsibilities, however, legally belong to the construction company. The subsequent periodic accompaniment during the development project´s execution is aimed at confirming and verifying progress so that construction finance can be liberated accordingly. These operations, and all professionals involved, are tied and recognised by the market, by the population and the supervisory organs to ensure the correct application of public finances.
However, as with any human activity, the construction industry is not exempt to risks and errors. In addition to a number of external factors, it should be noted that housing is not a unique neither an industrialised product and involves various execution phases that create the possibility of accidental failures. The majority of cases where problems occur are sufficiently identified by construction companies who seek to relieve the situation.
In the Rio de Janeiro case – where 2 buildings were demolished – even without a conclusive report yet to be published, the indications have led to conclusions that the problems were owed to a number of internal and external factors such as the abnormal level of rain amongst other local characteristics. The causes, of course, have yet to be fully identified. However, it is worth distinguishing that the case was an exception. Even adding the less serious cases, which are usually easily resolvable, the actual quantity of problem cases in relation to the total delivered under the Minha Casa, Minha Vida program is negligible.
Unfortunate in all senses of the word, but inherent to the industry itself, Caixa, concurrently with its professionals and partners, will be looking into bringing a solution to the problems and continually improving and evaluating internal process. Conscious of the image being represented by the Minha Casa, Minha Vida, Caixa and its representative engineering and architect professionals, regret this course of events and reinforce the compromise with the population to maintain its operations within solid technical standards, continually searching to maintain the highest levels of quality and satisfaction for end-users.