Permit for the reconstruction of the pool at FASTO was obtained by one, and made by another project

Permit for the reconstruction of the pool at FASTO was obtained by one, and made by another project

Renovation of the pool at FASTO, in which about 4.2 million KM of budget money has been invested so far, has been going on for years, and now it is questionable whether the pool will finally get a use permit, because it was a 2005 project, and our source claims that the works were performed according to the project from 2019, for which no permit was ever requested or obtained. 

Works on the reconstruction of the swimming pool at the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education (FASTO) in Sarajevo should be completed soon, however, it is questionable whether this swimming pool will receive a use permit and finally be put into operation. The problem, as Fokus researched, is that the works on this pool have been carried out for years in contradiction with the project documentation from 2005, for which the Municipality, Općina Centar Sarajevo issued a building permit. As confirmed to Fokus at FASTO, from 2016 until today, about 4.2 million KM have been invested in the renovation of the pool from the budget of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Sarajevo Canton and the Municipality, Općina Centar.

The shortcomings and inconsistency of the project documentation with the actual works performed at the pool were pointed out by our interlocutor, whose data are known to the editorial office, as well as the parties involved in the pool reconstruction process, who, as a natural person, submitted reports to the competent inspections of the Inspectorate of the Municipality, Općina Centar, for the fight against corruption and quality control of KS on numerous irregularities in the implementation of this project.

In December 2019, the Inspectorate of the Sarajevo Municipality, Općina Centar issued a decision ordering the investor to eliminate irregularities in the reconstruction of the pool, because it was contrary to the building permit.

Professional and technical supervision over the execution of works on the pool was performed, and still is performed by the Institute for Construction of Kanton Sarajevo, and the person in charge of supervision is Emir Dorić.

However, given that, according to the documentation submitted to Focus in this case, numerous irregularities and, to put it mildly, strange circumstances under which the new project documentation was created, for which a building permit was never obtained, and significantly deviated from the project from 2005 in the reconstruction of the pool, it is questionable whether the role of the Institute for Construction of KS as a supervisory body aimed at protecting compliance with the law or to “shut up” before all the irregularities that occurred in recent years during the reconstruction of the pool at FASTO.

Renovation of the pool and everything that accompanied those works should have been in accordance with the construction permit from 2005, which was registered in the Municipality, Općina Centar under number 07-23-2254 / 05 and related to the project that in March 2005 was done by the company PROJEKT DD from Sarajevo.

However, our source claims that the tender and all works that have been going on since 2017 until today are not being done according to that solution and project, but according to some other solution that has been substantially changed in relation to the adopted one.

– The changes are not cosmetic, but it is a matter of changing the complete technology of the pool, which required and meant changing the existing building permit. Everything related to the new project documentation was done internally without any announced tenders or similar. The prices and the method of payment were agreed internally with the general contractor and he was given an order from the Bureau, according to our source.

The main contractor for the reconstruction of the pool is the company “Unigradnja”, which selected subcontractors for this project, and as we find out, those who insisted on inspecting the building permit, for the project currently under construction, not the one from 2005, instead of answering, they received the termination of the contract.

According to our interlocutor, it is also problematic that the Slovenian company Handling has made a new project solution for the reconstruction of the pool, even though a foreign company cannot be a designer. Therefore, in 2019, a new, third project for this pool was made, but our interlocutor claims that this is exactly the same project done by a Slovenian company, only one BiH company appeared as the author. However, no permit was obtained for that project either, and work continued on the basis of the permit obtained in 2005.

According to our interlocutor, the Slovenian company Handling also benefited from the procurement of pool equipment. It is absurd that in the project done by Handling, the equipment manufacturer whose owner is the same company that did the project documentation is preferred!

Due to that, some subcontractors involved in the reconstruction of the pool could not procure equipment from the manufacturers they normally cooperate with, but the condition to stay in the business was to buy equipment from a Slovenian company.

– That's how it came about that the company Handling from Slovenia “covered” everything in the project of reconstruction of the FASTO pool. They also became designers and manufacturers of the most important parts of the equipment, as well as suppliers and contractors for the installation of that equipment. This situation itself is against the law, even if it is done in accordance with the mentioned building permit, because it is not possible for one company to “cover” all segments of one project. The situation is even worse because the project solution has been substantially changed.

Despite the fact that the inspection of the Municipality, Općina Centar has already ordered to eliminate the shortcomings in the reconstruction of the pool at FASTO, it is evident that in recent months the talk of trying to introduce the entire project “diluted”.

Although the Inspection of the Municipality, Općina Centar made a decision that the investor adjusts the technology of pool use in all segments to the approved solution from the building permit from 2005, as well as to the right of the main entrance to the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education, and towards Patriotske lige Street, relocate the installed metal container and place it according to the 2005 building permit, the inspectors now seem to focus only on meeting the requirements of one part of the solution.

Although we sent a written inquiry to the Inspectorate of the Municipality, Općina Centar about their actions and the decisions they made regarding the reconstruction of the pool at FASTO, we did not receive any answers even after more than 20 days.

From the insight into the official documentation of the Inspection, which we obtained unofficially, we realized that the inspection has now “turned the tables”, so it is no longer seen as disputable that the works were not adjusted to the 2005 project, but assesses that their decision was respected, because ‘’the disinfection container’’ was allegedly relocated under regulations required by 2005 documentation.

It turned out that the inspection, in this case, was satisfied by the fact that the disputed disinfection container was transferred from one location within the FASTO area to another within the same facility, and the fact that the works are performed without a permit and that the law is violated does not seem controversial to them.

Our interlocutor claims that the container, to which the authorities reduce the problem of pool reconstruction, actually overshadows the essential problem of the permit, and it is shocking that he claims that the container was not even mentioned in the project documentation from 2005, and now everyone is asking for it.

Although the Inspectorate of the Municipality, Općina Centar does not want to answer our inquiries, we learn that they are now “being silenced” in relation to the original solutions requesting that the works be adjusted to the project, so these days they suspended the procedure in this case!

From the document signed by Inspector Alma Krzović, it is evident that the inspection is suspending the procedure because Emir Dorić, from the Institute for Construction of KS, who is a Supervisory Authority, gave a statement according to which all documentation is in accordance with legal regulations! The inspection also assesses that their previous requirements have been met.

The logical question that arises from this attitude of the inspection is that they did not refer to the results of their checks, but only to the statement of Emir Dorić.

This is also indicated by our interlocutor, who insists that the statement of the inspection “that the investor acted according to the decision of the Inspectorate number: 06-23-4891 / 19 of March 6, 2020” is not correct.

– Because the technology of using the pool is not adjusted to the approved solution, but the works are still being performed according to the subsequent project solution of the company IDEA from February 2019, for which there is no building permit. In the building permit, number: 07-23-2254 / 05 dated 24 August 2005, it is explicitly stated that the investor is obliged to perform the works in question in accordance with the attached detailed design made by “Projekt” dd, which was certified by this service under number: 07-23-2254 / 05 on August 23, 2005 – our interlocutor explains.

According to the answer we received from the Institute for the Construction of KS, there is nothing problematic for them either in the fact that FASTO received a permit for reconstruction on the basis of one, and is carrying out works on a completely different project.

– The project of pool technology from 2005, designed 16 years ago, was revised with the consent of the end-user and investor, and on that occasion underwent a change in the form of changing the raw material from which chlorine is obtained for water disinfection. The technology of pool water disinfection has not changed and it has remained the same. This change saved about approx. 15,500.00 KM per year only for that segment – stated from the Institute, adding that they presented an elaborated answer on changes in raw materials for chlorine to the Inspectorate of the Municipality – Općona Centar, investor, end-user FASTO, and the Office for Combating Corruption and Management quality KS.

The Institute for Construction of KS also states that according to the “Law on Physical Planning of KS, nowhere is any article required to request a change in the building permit to change the physical state of water disinfectants that can be gaseous, liquid or solid or due to grain size sand and its fineness in filters”.

The Institute also points out that Article 81 of the Law on Physical Planning of KS from 2017 explicitly states in which cases and when the request for change/amendment of the building permit is submitted.

– Article 99 of the same law – if during the construction (in this case the reconstruction of the existing building), there are certain changes that do not fall under Article 88 of the Law on Physical Planning of KS, a project of the derived condition is being prepared, which defines changes and additions to the project, and it is submitted to the technical acceptance commission, the municipal authority and the end-user for the purpose of maintaining the facility, which will be done when the technical acceptance commission is formed ”. According to the profession of the Supervisory Body, investors and end-users, the projected technology has been improved, and the evidence is visible in the attached attachment that we provide to you. The change that was made does not require a change in the building permit and will be reflected in the project of the finished condition that will be made after the completion of all works and which is the responsibility of the contractor. In addition, we are of the opinion that the Inspectorate of the Municipality – Općina Centar would have banned the works on the pool if it had found any violation of the building permit during the site visit – they claim, among other things, in response to Fokus from the Kanton Sarajevo Construction institute.

However, our interlocutor maintains that the permit for the reconstruction of the pool was obtained for one, and that the works are being carried out according to a completely different, substantially changed project for which a building permit was not obtained.

– It was enough for the inspection to compare the bill of quantities from the project from 2005, on the basis of which the building permit was given, with the bill of quantities from the project from 2019, which is the basis for procurement and installation of goods, so they would see whether they were mistakenly or purposely mislead. Not to be confused, everything that was installed on the building is from the project of the company from 2019, which does not have a building permit. It is not true that the only change is the aggregate state of the chlorine used. The project for which the construction permit was obtained, the installation of four filters made of polyester reinforced with glass fibres with an individual flow of 46 m3 / h filled with quartz sand, was envisioned, and the project for which it works and for which there is no approval provides for the installation of one filter constructed of sheet steel with a flow rate of 200 m3 / h whose filling is not quartz sand. What do filters have to do with the state of chlorine? Changing the type of filter is not a cosmetic change, it is (along with the way of disinfecting pool water) one of the two key things in pool technology – explains our interlocutor.

How many individuals are convinced that they can rise above the law and that without answering to anyone they can get a permit for one project and build on a completely different project, is shown by the fact that the investor never submitted a request to supplement the existing approval?

Our source says that even in this case, the investor could not get a positive answer because such a request can be submitted only within three years from the date of validity of the building permit.

However, the Office for the Fight against Corruption and Quality Management of KS, when they received a report of irregularities in the execution of works on the FASTO swimming pool, did not reject it.

According to the response of the head of the Office Erduan Kafedžić, at the request of Fokus, checks were performed on the received report on alleged irregularities related to the project on the reconstruction of the swimming pool at the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education (FASTO) in Sarajevo.

– According to the content of the received report, the realization of the project on the reconstruction of the pool is allegedly done contrary to the project documentation for which the Municipality – Općina Centar issued a building permit. As part of the procedure for receiving the application, the Office collected certain data and documentation on the case from the Institute for Construction of Kanton Sarajevo, the Municipality of Centar Sarajevo and the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education. From the content of the collected documentation and data, it is evident that there are certain irregularities and disputable circumstances, and that in this regard the Inspectorate of the Municipality of Centar Sarajevo issued a Decision ordering the investor specific administrative measures to be implemented. After the Office exhausted its powers to conduct inspections, on September 10, 2021, the Office submitted the documentation collected in connection with the case to the Cantonal Administration for Inspection Affairs of the Sarajevo Canton for further competent action, said the head of the Office for Combating against corruption and quality management Erduan Kafedžić, for Fokus.

Although we received an answer from the Cantonal Administration for Inspection Affairs of KS on the question of whether they undertook activities related to the documentation submitted to them for further competent action, the Office for Anti-Corruption and Quality Management of KS, which relates to the reconstruction of the pool at FASTO, that answer does not give a concrete response as to what they did on that issue.

– Regarding the acts of the Office for Combating Corruption and Quality Management of KS, which carried out checks on alleged irregularities related to the implementation of the project for the reconstruction of the swimming pool at the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education (FASTO) in Sarajevo, the Cantonal Administration for Inspection Affairs, at the end of September, submitted to the Office the Information of the Cantonal Urban and Construction Inspection.

We especially note that the first-instance inspection supervision over the construction of this facility falls within the competence of the Municipal Urban Development and Construction Inspection of the Municipality – Općina Centar, and that the Cantonal Urban Development and Construction Inspectorate has not had other reports regarding the municipal urban planning and construction inspection. Faculty of Sports and Physical Education in Sarajevo – it is stated in the answer to Fokus from the Cantonal Administration for Inspection Affairs.

We also sent answers to the questions regarding the reconstruction of the pool at FASTO to the Dean's Office of this faculty, which, in addition to data on funds invested so far in the reconstruction of the pool, stated that “reconstruction works are nearing completion, so teachers and students of the faculty of sports are eagerly awaiting the completion of the works so that the swimming pool can be put into the function of teaching. ”

However, we did not receive an answer to the key question of whether FASTO was aware of the problems and shortcomings related to the building permit for which the works are being carried out.

– The entire process of reconstruction of the pool is under the supervision of the Institute for Construction KS, which you should contact regarding the shortcomings in the approved solution for building the pool, as well as the decision of the municipal inspection Center regarding the disinfection container located near the pool – they stated for Fokus from FASTO.

We also addressed a written inquiry to the main contractor for this project, the company “Unigradnja”, which we asked to clarify the allegations about how they are working on a multimillion-dollar project for the renovation of the pool at FASTO, without proper permits. We also asked them to comment on the fact that the company Handling from Slovenia is a designer, manufacturer of the most important parts of equipment, supplier and contractor for the installation of equipment, as well as to say how much money the company “Unigradnja” has received from the budget for the realization of works on the FASTO pool, and what is the deadline for completion of works.
We also asked Unigradnja to clarify the situation with the disinfection container, which is not included in the 2005 project, and in certain responses to the Inspectorate of the Općina Centar Municipality, the supervisory body stated that the container would be relocated according to 2005 documentation.

However, instead of clarifying and answering all our inquiries, Unigradnja summed up their answer in two sentences:

– Our company, as a contractor, is not authorized to provide information about the said facility. For the requested information, you can contact the Supervisory Body of the Institute for Construction of KS – stated from “Unigradnja”.

On the other hand, although in the period from 2016 to 2019, the Ministry of Education, Science and Youth of KS allocated a total of about 3.2 million KM for the reconstruction of the swimming pool at the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education (FASTO), University of Sarajevo, they do not have any information of irregularities related to the reconstruction of the pool at FASTO, as well as reports to the competent authorities regarding the reconstruction of the pool.

Although it is clear that the Institute for the Construction of KS, ie Emir Dorić, supervises the reconstruction of the pool at FASTO, this and many other cases raise the question of whether those who finance various projects from the budget, ie with our money, should include its own resources to control whether the basic legal preconditions for the legal performance of such works have been complied with, during the implementation of such works.

Because, as the development of events related to the reconstruction of the swimming pool at FASTO shows so far, it is questionable whether this facility will eventually receive a use permit.

FASTO will have to ask for the use permit from the Municipality of Centar, ie the municipal commission for technical acceptance of the facility, which, if it works according to the law, will have to take into account the fact that the pool reconstruction project was done according to one project, but had a permit for a different project, which initially indicates that the conditions for obtaining a permit are not met.

If the commission nevertheless issues a use permit for the pool at FASTO, in that case, as our sources announce, the commission could face criminal charges. Although the authorities, primarily the Institute for the Construction of KS, as the supervisory body, claims that in this story “everything is according to the law”, there are many ambiguities that need to be clarified. This is expected by all those who met the requirements of the municipal administration to fully comply with legal regulations in the execution and much smaller construction works than the multimillion reconstruction of the pool at FASTO and whose facilities were demolished if they did not comply with all inspection requirements.

Because such cases confirm the stories that in our society not everyone is the same before the law and that for the “privileged” there are milder and softer rules than those that are applied to “ordinary mortals”.

Therefore, it will be interesting to follow the epilogue of this case and whether the municipal commission will review the two projects when considering the request for technical acceptance of this facility and on the spot to make sure whether the works were performed under a licensed project or the project whose permission was never requested or obtained.