Building Construction Contracts

Nov 25th, 2008, in Business & Economy, by

Building Construction ContractsPurba on the quality levels of Indonesian construction methods, and building contracts in Dubai.

Indonesia Seeks Dubai Construction Work

Public Works Minister Pak Djoko Kirmanto and a number of construction businessmen will be visiting Dubai with a delegation of 40 to win construction projects in the Persian Gulf state.

We will try our best to construction market in the Middle East though Dubai because Dubai is the biggest financial center in the Middle East like Singapore in Asia.

Sumaryanto Widayatin, head of construction development affairs of the Ministry of Public Works, said that the Indonesian construction businesses were holding a 3 day expo in order to seize construction business opportunities, with the Dubai construction market estimated at US$20 billion – requiring both construction and maintenance skills.

Widayatin said that Dubai itself was known as one of the “big five” in the building business in the Middle East with excellent market potential but it was hard for Indonesian contractors to take part not because of competition but because of uncertainties in the payments.

Overseas, we don’t know to whom the payments that are obtained should be charged. There must be certainties with regard to this. After all, we also need certainties in banking support because no supporting banks already available overseas

Indonesia was now preparing to set up a representative office in Dubai. He added: Antara

The problem is whether to open our own branch office or just to join with the Indonesian Embassy’s attache.

Indonesia is a regional leader in such construction with highly advanced skills, knowledge and practical experience far outstripping any ASEAN member country despite clever Singaporean NatGeo marketing strategies, due to the highly complex geo-technical and seismic challenges building in one of the most active earthquake/subduction zones on the planet.
Japan, Holland, USA and Germany have long been highly valued technical and specialist skills educators to highly regarded indigenous Indonesian engineers.

Indigenous Indonesian contractors are not only proven entirely trustworthy and highly experienced, but well marketed against all major competitors on:

  • Absence of conflicting Western biased political agenda
  • Quality of construction and long experience in producing world’s best standard materials
  • History of extreme intolerance toward building corruption- with death penalty applicable to most serious infractions resulting in loss of human life.
  • Huge experience in variety of modern projects
  • Highly rapid construction with superior construction quality
  • Excellent maintenance record
  • Proven high magnitude earthquake resistance
  • Cost benefit – higher priced than China or India – but quality is far superior and proven far more trustworthy- the building construction graft culture prevalent in many emerging markets (Turkey, China, India) is non existent and historically vigourously prosecuted with extreme resolve.
  • Superior constructions in terms of quality, finish, engineering, safety, longevity, redundancies and materials.

Despite numerous large quakes Indonesia has never suffered the tragic devastation as seen in Turkey, Szechuan, etc caused primarily by lax enforcement of building standards and rampant government corruption and skimping building materials. Similar concerns exist regarding India following the Kashmiri-Pakistani earthquake tragedy- where some contractors were Indian.

Indonesian construction standards are the strictest in the region bar none – standards are equal or exceed world’s best practice and ISO standards, with historically highly intolerant government attitude to shoddy construction and “under-building”.

Singapore, Malaysia and other regional tenderers are routinely excluded from Indonesian projects due to their inexperience at building earthquake resistant structures and concerns on an engineering culture dictated by profit at any cost- using most minimally expensive construction materials and methods.

Indonesian constructed buildings as a rule are “over-engineered”: built up to standards and not down to price, and engineered to survive highest range Richter scale quake damage.

The moderate and modernist parts of the Middle East will be excellent strategic growth market far more suitable to Indonesia’s strategic politico- economic goals as Singapore market has near peaked and predicted to follow a slow decline. Middle Eastern political goals are far more congruent to Indonesia’s own interests and philosophy of nonaggression and non-alignment, contrast very favourably to the fawning neo Imperialist puppetry of Australia, Singapore and lesser extent Malaysia.

The IMF predicts Qatar will be the fastest growing economy of 2009.
The Middle East is running out of oil and has to diversify ASAP and with growing populations on marginal land – Indonesia is an excellent partner, highly suitable for Indonesian gas expertise and export contracts and for basic commodity and food export.

It is almost as if time has turned full circle for Indonesia to trade again with moderate Arabia.

42 Comments on “Building Construction Contracts”

  1. funny says:

    Absence of conflicting Western biased political agenda

    Dunno bout this

    Quality of construction and long experience in producing world’s best standard materials

    Oh hoh. Sketchy at best. None of it can be proven.

    History of extreme intolerance toward building corruption

    – with death penalty applicable to most serious infractions resulting in loss of human life.

    Huge experience in variety of modern projects

    Like what? While china build their olympic stadium, malaysia has their petronas tower, etc, etc, what do we have? Monas? These countries were excluded because we CANNOT afford them.

    Highly rapid construction with superior construction quality

    Yup. That’s why it takes years to build a simple layover.

    Excellent maintenance record

    As long as you have excellent record of “pelicin” and “suap” money.

    Proven high magnitude earthquake resistance

    Cost benefit – higher priced than China or India – but quality is far superior and proven far more trustworthy– the building construction graft culture prevalent in many emerging markets (Turkey, China, India) is non existent and historically vigourously prosecuted with extreme resolve.

    Superior constructions in terms of quality, finish, engineering, safety, longevity, redundancies and materials.

    Again, what?

    Are we living in the same country?
    Just out of curiosity, do you even work? It’s obvious that you don’t understand markets, economies, and business (shown by your lack of response of bii, indosat, freeport, big tree, etc in one of the earlier posts.)
    Proven? How?

    Ha4. Wow you really are deluded. Indonesia high rise building is, at best, standard. The only reason why we still have all these buildings is because we never have an earthquake that has its epicenter in the middle of say, Jakarta. Even a 4-5 richter will be enough to bring down the whole city save a few (by a few I mean less than 5 buildings left). Oh and I wouldn’t say that aceh, nias, and bengkulu earthquake is not tragic.

    And if you think that we are not profit oriented and cutting corners and marking-up prices than you are a bigger deluded fool than I thought.

  2. sputjam says:

    I doubt very much if the arabs appreciate living in wooden house on stilts. They even look down on their malay brethren. If there is any contracts, it will be between maids and their employer. Arabs prefer the christian malay cousins from the phillipines to do menial jobs, as they do not waste precious time praying 5 times a day.
    It is the europeans who are getting the huge slice of the Dubai contracts. These europeans then subcontract their jobs to guys from Malaysia (due to easily understood spoken english). Most of the Malaysian contractors already have offices there, including interior works. They will then hire cheap labour from indonesia as they have been doing this for decades.
    Dubai and other middle eastern countries are pinching islamic banking executives and offshore oil and gas professionals from Malaysia to work there. If I am not mistaken, YTL, the developer in the famed bukit bintang KL, is building a mall in Dubai named appropriately starhill targeting the higher end of the retail biz.

    If anything, the move is a little bit too late as the price of oil has stuttered and the financial crisis in the west will slow down the growth of dubai.

  3. As I work in the construction industry, I doubt Indonesian contractors can win a contract in Dubai. We simply do not have the same standards (yet) as other international contractors. Our workers are very traditional, not skilled, methodical ones. Generally Indonesian contractors never respect time, budget, and quality, the three sacred aspects in any project. We are not exposed to new technology and new material as fast as other countries, we are always years behind them. We simply ignore the health & safety issues (never heard workers falling off of cranes like in Pacific Place Jakarta in other countries, or having the crane itself broke down and fell off and killed the innocent motorcycle rider who happened to pass the road that day), which can potentially sabotage the project. We never think ahead, we cheat on materials in order to save some small money, and then moan forever because we are tied up in the maintenance responsibility, while we know the problem is not just because the poor installation, but also poor material.

    We never do everything just right, let alone reach the higher standard of excellence. To think about winning a contract for such project like The Palm, is like utopia. But who knows, once faced with the challenge we are up to it? We’ll see.

  4. Purba Negoro says:

    All commentators above are obviously non experts but highly negative of good news for Indonesia.
    All of their comments are not only misleading and false but highly ignorant of actual realities- as the reader can easily infer.

    One can only assume they dislike Indonesia and its’ natives progress they seek to defame it at any opportunity.

    My company is major engineering consultant for Istaka Jaya- frequent contractor for Adhi Karya- Indonesia’s largest and oldest construction firm.
    I have Masters degree in Civil Engineering with 30 years experience in the field- and have worked some time overseas. For example- the Singaporean subterranean Mass transit system in 1980’s.

    There is not a single building type we have not yet undertaken. We frequently liase with Dutch, German, American and Japanese expert for specialist advice.
    We were even part of Japanese group for tender for Sumatera-Java bridge.

    One of our latest project was Mal Kelapa Gading 3- finished on time- excellent standard of finish.

    Currently- Indonesia has sent many students to Japan, US, UK, Russia and Germany for specialist advance education.

    Jakarta has very frequent minor earthquake the reason childish person does not feel is due to the engineering.

    Actually above 200 per year many exceeding Richter 4 and 5, but Indonesia has never had major building collapse like apartment tower or so forth.
    It is so common as to be deemd un-newsworthy.
    Private house is another matter as home owner entirely responsible for build quality.
    Our oil/gas refineries are fully earthquake resistant- if not- major economic and environmental disaster.

    Frequent small earthquake create very serious stress to building structure- which must be factored into engineering.

    World’s best standard building materials:
    Semen Gresik is partnered with Heidelberg Cement and Portland Cement.
    The machinery used in such Indonesian factory is generally German.
    Indonesian steel as produced by Cakra Tunggal and Krakatau are one of few structural steel allowed “as is” by EU regulation as it meet and exceed strict EU safety standards.
    Exactly like Indonesian pharmaceutical produced by majors it is first world standard- so much so- Indonesian company such as Kalbe Farma and other majors supply Singapore hospital directly and Eureopan Common market as basic ingredient.
    The mass market dominated by cheap and occasionally toxic ethnic is currently being severely prosecuted.
    Che Fuk and numerous other Chinese brands or imports are infamous for mercury toxicity.

    Indonesian major building are all insured by multi-national insurer- to obtain they must pass insurer own strict regular building inspection and evaluation.

    As for Islamic bangking- Indonesia is actually one of the leading expert on Shariah banking.
    We have had Shariah bank in operating predating the Egyptians and Islamic microcredit predating the brilliant Dr Yunus of Grameen.
    It was BNI who was contracted as advisor to Malaysia.
    All of which add to underscore Indonesian ability as economic expert- along with strongest economy in ASEAN.

    Finally Woken is completely wrong.
    Her ill formed comments regard the small-time local carpenter.
    The West is also full of such “horror story” of contractor- including being basis of very funny hit TV show “Home Improvement”.

    For my company alone- we have exclusive contract with Makita Japan for tooling and Leica and Nedo highest technology German surveying/measuring equipments.

    Industrial accident is not uncommon for developed world, hence Workers’ Comp worker insurance etc.
    Statistaically- Indonesian accidental death rate is lower than CHina or Idnia and competes well with some Western nations. It appears superficially high simply due to our massive population.

    Indonesian contribution giants have had many American, UK and Australian advising us on world’s best practice building safety and supply all safety equipment free for workers- unlike many Western companies.

    Indonesia is not competing for the Nat Geo mass publicized residential gimmickry projects.

    Indonesia is targeting serious work where millions in equipment capital is at stake- the “nuts and bolts” major industrial and commercial engineering and we hope to partner with European nation for gaining better expertise in major public infrastructure.

  5. fullmoonflower says:

    Come on…. if you all still love to be an Indonesian, please just support them.

    I’m proud to be an Indonesian… always love this country, love Ibu Pertiwi, even when she was in glory or in sorrow…

    Go guys! I believe you can!

    Our workers are very traditional, not skilled, methodical ones

    I’m disagree with this statement. My ex husband is an civil engineer. Even he hurt me in personal, but I’m still proud of him as a professional.

    Perhaps the workers you mean are tukang batu, tukang kayu, and mandor. Yes, they are still traditional. But not for the engineers.
    I ever worked in a construction and developer company in North Sulawesi, and I knew some very good jakarta engineers when I worked there.

    Come on, jeng…. Are you an Indonesian or not?
    I know we are in bottom now. But I believe that life is like a rolling wheel, up and down.
    Why can you still be proud to be an Indonesian when your country, your bumi pertiwi, is in bottom side of it’s cycle?


  6. monyetmerah says:

    Finally some good news, I agree with Purbo that there are some Indonesians that we can be proud of. But on the same time we have been put down so many times thus becoming too skeptical on news such as this.

    Hopefully Indonesians can compete globally, not only on constructions but on other aspects as well. We seems to forget that Indonesia is an agriculture country, yet we are now struggling to feed our own people.

  7. Purba Negoro says:

    like the wise orang hutan you are correct.

    I address your concern- the Government has distributed new tarpaulin for the farmer.
    An ignorant idiot would mock this as silly and cheap.
    But on closer inspection we the wisdom see of how tiny expenditure at source makes massive nett difference.

    Indonesian Agricultural Institute (Institut Pertanian Bogor) one of the leading agricultural insitute in the world has calculated that 5-10% harvest is due to such avoidable wastage.

    New tarpaulin to every farmer means when rice is dried and harvested- wastage minimised.

    The 5% saved equates to several million tons of raw rice per year- more than enough to create nett rice surplus.
    Indonesia in 2009-2010 (God Willing!) will be food surplus and prediction is for massive growth.

    Our soil is fertile, suwak communal irrigation system duplicated all (computer modelled to be most efficient irrigation system bar none), farmer hard working, land privately owned (not commune/collective) and our land is not toxic like China.

    Institut Pertanian Bogor has Asia’s largest seed bank and medicinal plant database- we have major joint partnership with University of Hawaii, Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp (ITMA) and Berlin Institute of Tropical Medicine.
    Indonesia has discovered many new plants and animals.

    In 1980’s- Suharto sponsor hundreds of nuclear technician trained in Russia, Japan and Germany. Indonesia was scheduled to build several nuclear power stations in 2000- but due to 1998 KrisMon- not possible.

    In 2012- Russia will build latest technology floating nuclear power-station off Irian.
    This is latest and safest technology high efficiency nuclear fission station- light years ahead of Chinese and Indian 1950’s cheap and cheerful reactors.

    Russia, Germany, US and Japan all understand Indonesia is not at all backward and invest heavily.

    The true Indonesian can be justly proud- the unwanted ethnic hangers may worry.

    Their era of 1980’s sleazy dealings are forever over- and foreign ethnics are now superfluous in addition to unwelcome.
    Garuda continues his ascent far above Cukong Togol kuning.

  8. Berlian Biru says:

    If anyone is thinking of doing construction work in Dubai they better make sure they get paid in advance, the whole Dubai property boom is about to tits up in very short order. Put simply Dubai is bust.

  9. Purba Negoro says:

    Very good point Mr Blue Diamond- the rarest most valuable kind.

    Actually Indonesia is targeting Qatar and Oman and to a lesser extent Bahrain.
    IMF predicts Qatar will the fastest growing economy for 2009.

    I know a young man who used to be a JSX stock broker- now he is a multi millionaire simply selling household goods to the Bahraini.

    He is half Acehnese, half Javanese or Sunda- but quite religious- but his father though married a Chinese woman (I think may have been Christian) for his second wife- and she is very nice lady. I think originally from Medan.
    So some trivia to show the Sumateran very clever indeed at trading- you must be very clever indeed to out barter an Arab- Medan is kindergarten in comparison!

  10. Antonius says:

    Mr Purba Negoro:

    I am very glad to hear all the positive comments you have for Indonesia. I also am a proud Indonesian, and God knows how much I want this country to prosper, and how much I am willing to dedicate my life to the advancement of so many Indonesians poor that somehow do not share in the nation’s prosperity. And I would be happier than most people to hear that Indonesian people can do something that could compete globally.

    But I am a Chinese ethnic. I regret to hear how you spoke badly about Chinese ethnic in Indonesia. I know many Tionghoa people who are not good people, who perhaps have done many wrong and exploited the nation. But I know equally many Tionghoa people who are proud to be Indonesian, who love this nation, and who would dedicate their lives to this nation’s prosperity. Some of us love the people of Indonesia, indigenous or of foreign root, more than many Indonesians love their own country.

    Garuda continues his ascent, wonderful! And we Chinese ethnic in Indonesia, along with all people who are proud to call themselves Indosian, will rise with him.

  11. Bas says:

    “highly regarded indigenous Indonesian engineers”, “Indigenous Indonesian contractors are not only proven entirely trustworthy and highly experienced”.. stop the crap please. During the last earthquake in Jogja the only hotel that didn’t suffer was Inn Garuda. The oldest building in town build by the dutch.
    Indonesian buildings are below any standard, including Pakistanase and turkish ones, and the only reason why they are still up is because no big town has been hit by a high magnitude earthquake during the last century. Period.
    Japanese, French, Jerman, even Americans know how to build strong constructions. Indonesia cannot even make decent trottoirs… How pathetic.

    Happy holliday and shopping in Dubai for the 40 guys going to Dubai.

  12. Purba Negoro says:

    every major multi storey building built by Indigenous Indonesians was undamaged.
    Notably – you ignore the Dutch protestant church which almost collapsed.
    BUT- the majority of the Javanese palaces were unscathed- only some outlying pavilions damaged- and unfortunately the royal cemetery complex too.

    We were contracted to do post quake inspections- cut your slanderous crap.

    The residential buildings, Chinese shop-houses, warehouses etc in the city centre are the ones who due to their skimping on building materials and or illegal/substandard construction were damaged.

  13. Oigal says:

    You are a funny man PN..but you should remember that your irony may be lost on those who are not in Indonesia to see how absurd your statements are. Really there may even be the odd poor deluded soul, who has never seen Indonesian Toll Road construction, Multi stroy buildings where each and every pane of glass has to be cut seperately due to dodgy foundations and the inability to measure right angles.

  14. Purba Negoro says:

    Indonesia was the centre for ASEAN engineers in the 1960’s – Malaysians would train with us.
    During that time the bulk of Malaysian infrastructure was built.

    I think you may mean “storey”- but it is very telling of your shoddy grasp of your own mother tongue and vast ignorance.

    Istaka Jaya is building the new elevated toll road with 10 metre pile driven foundations precast concrete columns, tipped with tungsten carbide caps.
    We have onsite casting, baking and curing- negating the idiocy of transportation of modular sections.

    This is only a small part of construction technology that outstrips the Transfield construction for your Melbourne Tullamarine (city Link?) toll system which we routinely visited during the entire construction.

    Obayashi is a major contractor here and we were very well informed of Australian standards.
    Most unimpressive- Australians cannot finish a tunnel less than 200 metres deep without major leaks- and this in soft rock.

    It seems to be a point of extreme jealousy that Indonesian construction is well ahead of Australian.

    Such a pleb as you would be unaware that glass for skyscrapers is not cut on site. It’s factory cut- specially ordered, tinted and tempered.
    CNC machines robotically cut it- so it is perfectly square & arrives on site in pallets.
    This is global building practice- even for such stagnating backwaters as Australia with their 30 year planned obsolescence veneer McMansion urban sprawl that outpaces their ability to maintain roads.

  15. Bas says:

    PN you stop your crap. I live in Jogja. I may have not inpected all jogja buildings but I believe my eyes and I can hear what people say. And everybody here say the same thing. And it is not that local constructions are stronger than colonial ones, mister post quake expert.

    So I confirm my statement :

    Dutch constructions have resisted much better than local constructions (dispite their age). Of course if a church had never been renovated in 200 years it would almost collapse. Please try to compare what is comparable!

    And yes no local multi storey building collapse. Actually no multi storey building collapse in Jogja, right? The earthquake was not strong enough or too far. It was a “little” earthquake but thousands of houses have been destroyed and thousands died because Indonesian constructions are just BAD. And yes most local hotels were more damaged than the old Inn Garuda.

    So you keep your pseudo post quake inspections results for your happy boss, you enjoy the money and you don’t try to feed me with your bullshit about high quality local building standard, ok?

    Let’s wait for a closer earthquake so that you can get a new post quake inspection job and we’ll talk again.

    Stupid nationalism, no introspection ability due to a bad education and patriarcal culture and inferiority feeling makes guys like you blind – but it’s ok, I am still happy because westerners are not blamed for what happened this time. What’s more, all people who have not been contamined by local propaganda knows the truth about your Indonesian standards – but still I consider your biased posts as a total lack of respect for past and future victims of your f***** “high standards”. You guys really have no shame.

    And if one day members of your family die because of these high standards what will you do?
    You will say it’s God will, right? That’s it. Just God will.

    I really have no respect for people like you.

    Keep living in your dreams oom “we do better than bules”. But remember: sooner or later reality will bit and you’ll have to pay the price.

  16. Purba Negoro says:

    I will ignore your personal attacks as ignorant emotive volatility.

    If your read my comments- I am referring to commercial and industrial buildings.
    Residential buildings- especially in Jogja were badly effected- mainly as they were concrete and double brick.
    This is typical “old fashioned” building construction- you will find in a quake hit Bruge or similar such medieval city- especially considering Jogja is not a wealthy city- most buildings will collapse.
    The traditional construction such as pendopo pavillions of the Keraton tend not to be so damaged- as they rest on stone foundation and “jump” during the quake- it is like an upside down building- the roof is the structural element- the verticals are free to wobble and skip.

    Now to attend to your cafe angst:

    How are we to apply modern building standards to impoverished Jogjanese?
    Who will pay for their house to be renovated?
    Or maybe much easier to simply say- sorry- your house is not so fancy- you may not have a roof- or a house- we know what is best for you?

    Or maybe you expect us to pull down their house- and indulge their protests- because we are actually saving them by destroying their house?

    I find it particularly offensive your presumptions as I am from Central Java- my own ancestral lands are now impoverished from the quake- and who is it that pay from his own pocket t help rebuild- including Imogiri where my family is interred- along with many other elites of Jakarta.

    Who actually sponsors the rebuilding and chairty for the poor of Jogja?
    Who is the one organising repairs to Prambanan, Dieng etc and surveying to ensure therse priceless heritage are not perpertually lost?

    Who is actually handing over hundreds of thousands to repair Argo sari, Imogiri and many other culturally priceless relics?

    Is it the loudmouth moralising moronic bule?

    Or this Javanese aristocrat class he is so hateful of? Yes reality us Javanese who roll up our sleeve and dig deep in our pockets.

    I do not see any white faces handing out rice, tarpaulin and water tablet to villager or administering medical aid- or even wandering around Prambanan with measuring tape and theodolite.
    I see even Mbak Tutut Suharto passing out supplies she buys herself in Kemusek. Yes- nothing to her- but what of the allegedly benelovent bule?
    Where are they?

    Not even providing some pocket change so the poor can bury their dead- as Javanese like me have lost many their village workers.

    Is the bule then paying for the widow’s child’s education?
    No – again the Javanese aristocrat – as always- even as we do to our Acehnese poor.

    IS bule organising NGO and charity to provide cottage industry to widows?
    NO- again we Javanese aristocrat.

    Is bule sponsoring deep well boring to replace damaged wells?

    Is bule offering money for the temporary unemployed?

  17. Purba Negoro says:

    On May 27, 2006 Jakarta’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency determined the hypocentre to be about 37 km south of Yogyakarta, 33 km below the seabed. The earthquake had a magnitude of 6.3. Two aftershocks, measured at 4.8 and 4.6, occurred between 4 and 6 hours later.

    Hardly a small quake- most cities in the West would also be levelled.

  18. Bas says:

    PN who repaired Borobudur? So that you can make bules you hate so much pay maybe 10 times the price locals have to pay to visit it?

    I think all the hard working volunteers and people who are sending funds to Indonesia will be happy to read your post.

  19. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Slightly off the topic, but in terms of the bules not helping Indonesia rebuild, I’m wondering what your thoughts are on:

    1. GOI’s appeal to Australia to provide budgetary support ?

    2. $1 billion in tsunami aid for B. Aceh.

    3. All the “bule” funded aid projects in the Yogya earthquake.

    As good nationalists, should Indonesians reject all of the above ?

  20. Antonius says:

    Purba Negoro:

    I wish all Indonesians were as proud as you with Indonesian products.

    But you have shown your short-sightedness by ridiculing other ethnicities. You will cause nothing but separation. Indonesia would be well off without people like you.

    Jusuf Kalla himself had received harsh criticisms for calling Aburizal Bakrie the most successful pengusaha “pribumi” (indigenous businessman). How could someone in Vice President position still emphasize the difference between ethnic and indigenous citizens?

    Many of our nation’s leaders are striving for unity in Indonesia. But people like you, Purba Negoro, are trying to bring their efforts to nothing. Maybe you live up to your name, “Purba”.. You are ancient, unmodernized, uncivilized and left behind. Follow the time. It’s no longer the time for separation, but unity.

  21. Geordie says:

    Bas asked the following: –

    who repaired Borobudur? So that you can make bules you hate so much pay maybe 10 times the price locals have to pay to visit it?

    Bas, is it not reasonable that there’s a price differential? Quite apart from the ‘cultural thing’ in that is it reasonable to ask locals to pay to see what their ancestors potentially had a hand in building, we, typically, earn orders of magnitude more than the locals.

    As for the outside funding, in Africa – which, it has to be said, is a huge beneficiary of international largesse – the 10:1 pricing differential holds true for entrance to National Parks. Is 10:1 the ‘right’ ratio? Well, one assumes, that the price does not deter so many visitors as to threaten upkeep but warns off enough to ensure that the current custodians have something viable to pass on to the next generation.

    Bhutan does something similar as I understand it though, it has to be said, far more strictly and at a far higher cost. Is Bhutan ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ to limit its visitors to severely? Well, it’s their country and they have to manage it as they see fit and it doesn’t seem to stop people wanting to go, demand, as I understand it, far outstrips supply.

    And this brings me back to Borobudur, if the price was too high surely market forces would drive it down? True, Borobudur is a spectacle and people would come, perhaps, no matter what the price and that is not, in my view, inherently ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ as if a case can be made for Bhutan then surely the same holds true for Borobudur? Of course one’s a country and the other’s a temple but the tourist in me sees this as only a matter of scale.

  22. Geordie says:

    Bas, sorry for answering a question not directed at me, however, this is something I feel quite strongly about. I find it particularly distasteful when I see bule, especially bule tourists, haggling in markets and such. And I find it disgusting when they crow about how much they managed to have ‘knocked-off’ the asking price.

  23. Purba Negoro says:

    You’re a very decent man Geordie.
    A credit to your nation in fact, most British here are model expat.
    You may be aware the Scottish have a long tradition of burning ships and things here for their cultural traditions.

    The British do not act like churlish Lord of all they Survey like some and gain rapid admiration for their tact, decorum and manners often much better than our own.
    Many roll up sleeves enthusiastically trying to change things for the better through charity- good mad dog and Englishman work ethic maybe out in the mid-day sun!

    I as an Indonesian find it very endearing and admirable this haggling upsets you. It is poor form.

    Pity so many bule from outside of UK can be such a pain- or perhaps too immature to adapt to altered circumstance.

    Somehow I think the wong pasar may have the last laugh on si londo ndeso.
    Semar and Bagong tend to always win.

  24. Berlian Biru says:


    “Istaka Jaya is building the new elevated toll road with 10 metre pile driven foundations precast concrete columns, tipped with tungsten carbide caps.
    We have onsite casting, baking and curing- negating the idiocy of transportation of modular sections.”

    I am almost certain I saw an article in the Jakarta Post this week about how building work on the elevated toll road has been stopped due to the support pillars buckling.

    Doesn’t sound like they’re doing such a good job up there after all.

  25. Purba Negoro says:

    Jakarta Post nonsense yet again. It seems not only will hostile aliens print anything- naive readers will believe their unreferenced nonsense uncritically.

    Explain how prestressed reinforced concrete can buckle without any working load. Sorry impossible.

    Jakarta Post should examine the North Jakarta Lippo constructions instead- but this would be biting the hand that feeds.

  26. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Hi PN,

    Seemed to have dodged my question a little.

    Maybe you were busy adding a few comments about rapacious and bloodthirsty white colonials to the GOI’s submission to Australia for the budget support. I’d be happy to help !

  27. Geordie says:

    PN said the following: –

    The British do not act like churlish Lord of all they Survey

    Perhaps but some, more than I’d like, English certainly bloody do! Especially the churlish bit and my advice to them would be if it’s so soddin’ good back in Blighty then piss off back and stop re-inforcing the stereotype that the rest of us are trying to overcome.

    Empire ended a while ago, didn’t you get the memo?

  28. sputjam says:

    No use having engineering expertise if the govenrment does not believe in investing in infastructure. That includes java-sumatra bridge.
    why would anybody wants a floating nuclear power plant in irian. the cost of transmitting the power itself would be prihibitive unless most of that power is used by the Irianese themselves. Or maybe this plant is untested and irian was the only place offered worldwide.
    Indonesian agriculture expertise may be first class, but due to bad road infastructure, all the farmers lose out as it cost much more to transport their produce to the markets.
    There have been no direct earthquake hits in jakarta so far to test your assumptions on building construction quality. you quoting australian standards can only mean that indonesia does not have a building construction /engineering standards to begin with.

    Modern buildings using steel reinforced concrete or steel structure will of course be able to withstand earthquake much better than buildings built by the dutch and chinese migrants, using bricks and mortar, much like many houses in indonesia. hence when earthquake struck, it is the houses and older buildings that will collapse (mostly due to heavy tiles on the roof and rigid construction) as was seen in the 2006 earthquake that struck south of jogja, Is it law in indonesia to equipped high rise buildings to flex and absord the earthquake or it depends on the developer?

  29. Purba Negoro says:

    Quite simply-
    yes the law is all 5 storey and above buildings must be earthquake resistant- though the specifics are rather detailed.
    Indonesia does have standards based on International Building Code.

    The problem in Indonesia is never law or standard- which are very good- the problem is always their enforcement. which has been very lacking particularly in the past 15 years- where the post KrisMon cost of living inflated and erode real earnings and then stupid populist BY cut almost all bureaucrat salary- thereby actually encouraging corruption.

    Case in point- Adam Air and Indonesian rail accidents- formerly very rare. Adherence to maintenance is lacking- and we find this very common with private company brinkmanship behaviours- profit motive outweighing profit margin on maintenance.

    Returning to standards- this means in many cases for newer private construction- standards are- allegedly ignored for some brown paper envelopes. The area is unsurprisingly North Jakarta and some pockets elsewhere.

    Elsewhere Adhi Karya and subsidiary MUST obey strict standard.
    Luckily materials are obtained at cost factory direct (also owned by developer)- so engineering them to be passively resistant is not an economic issue- and rather easily solve and these passive rather than active systems predominate.

    We cannot truly earthquake proof- merely resist within realistic limits- and projections/simulations.
    Real life event may be completely different to our very best educated expectations.

    Resistance is done one of two ways- passive and active systems.
    Passive generally means massive over
    construction and base isolation.

    Active resistance systems of course nett cheaper than over-designing a specific construction.
    Then- the maintainability on such advanced system is prohibitive for many developer here- I am referring to such devices as upper floor counter motion pendulums, hydraulic jacks and such computer-controlled high precision device.
    These include tuned mass dampers and such.

    However- tried and true 2nd tier technology is common- rubber buffers and heavy-oil filled structural support- basically like giant suspension bushing- these are made locally.
    In fact the oldest base isolation system- is in Persia- the tomb of Cyrus the Great- still standing after more than 2000 years.- it is basically a tomb atop a giant slab-very basic- yet proven effective even through most severe quake.

    So- no buildings are designed actually to flex beyond normal limits- as this can cause uncontrollable destructive resonance- where building begin to resonate at same seismic frequency
    With base isolation systems- the foundation is physically separated load bearing column- like pre CV joint old-fashioned rubber/leather automotive “doughnut” joint.

    Crude-perhaps- but cheap and highly effective. A very elegant solution.

    Many pre-existing buildings are currently being retrofitted- but this is also dependent on economic and structural viability- for example- many colonial buildings simply cannot be retrofitted without very major expensive works- and the cost benefit is that it is too expensive to do so.

    For everyday motorists in Jakarta- just look underneath a bridge or the airport tollway flyovers- and you can see huge black chunky eraser device- very basic- but very effective- with almost no maintainance- no moving part- no reliance on electricity- will always work.

    AS for reinforced concrete column burst- this is not an issue in Jakarta as our roadway are very differently designed as independent segment- and basically the columns are much thicker than seen in California or Kobe.
    For prestige CBD type building- steel column sleeves are as a rule used- very cheap- why not use.

    Also- for Jakartans- behind the new DBS construction not far from Plaza Indonesia is a ruin of a Chinese developer building- who ran away- the building left rotting.
    But- one can see the massive internal concrete skeleton and reinforced high-strength steel skeleton- it is actually very well built- but sadly I think is beyond salvage- there is a lot of corrosion- due to lying unfinished for years- likely structural.

    The Dutch buildings as a rule fare well as they are “over-engineered”.

    Some good examples- the Dutch fortresses- their mass and “shortness” means resonance and displacement not an issue.
    Fort Van der Wijck in Sunda is a good example.

    Bidadari Island is a bad example- there the Dutch fort was swept away post Krakatua!

    For older buildings- the issue is termed soft storey effect- where shear walls are inadequate and subject to disproportionate lateral stress vector.
    They cannot handle the strain including the force of masses accelerating above them- and hence they shear and suffer catastrophic failure.

    Weight of the roofing is quite irrelevant- you can have thatch- and still plausible for shear wall effect.

    Many colonial Dutch buildings, Chinese old shophouses, temples and of course poorer peoples houses as they are shoddily built using inferior materials- the walls are too weak- so they catastrophically fail due to shear.

    The 1970’s onward era RuKo Shop-house are much better- built using modern standards and materials- built to International Building Codes.
    Again passive resistance via heavily reinforced concrete and base isolation.

    Indonesia observes the International Building Code created by International Code Council- though primarily for commercial structure or where dictated through prevention of loss of property or life.
    Also- California was very popular destination for engineer-also quite seismically active- and quite similar mix of constructions and methods

    The Java Sumatera bridge is just a really stupid idea- even the Dutch thought so. It lies across a worse fault than San Andreas and is near Krakatau.
    Then what benefit does it deliver? Heavier traffic including freight train more easily accommodated by water vessel.

    And again your very flawed and naive view of Indonesia- I doubt you have ever actually lived here.

    And no- the roads are good- they are engineered to take main battle tank and military convoy.
    The maintenance- is issue of regional government whom you so advocate- with the Raja Cilik skimming off the funds.
    Not an issue under centralised Suharto government.

    Why floating nuclear plant?
    Very simple- water is generally perfectly level and is a fluid- it is not effected by terrestrial seismic vibration & off coast of Irian tsunami is historically non existent.
    Wave propagation is effect of prolonged wind- also minimal off Biak.
    Cooling issue massively simplified- in event of overheating- it can feasibly be sunk- before radiation can ever leak out.

    Russians- so far ahead of everyone else to think outside rigid dogmas.

    The era of the Chernobyl type reactor are long over (outside China)- and still Russia who lead the world in nuclear technology- including pebble bed reactor- which Chinese fraudulently claim as their invention- no US and Russia simultaneously invent in 1950’s.

    Indonesia has built literally millions of kilometres of bitumen road- the Dutch left very little aside from dirt track to and from their plantations- and same for cheapest (typical Dutch) smallest gauge rail.
    Completely different to the British of India.

    Who will pay for the public infrastructure if society cannot pay for mains water?

  30. sputjam says:

    Smallest gauge railway applies to malaya and thailand(3 foot). Only Thai railway authorities expanded and increased the serivces to regions not covered by the british built system. malaya and indonesia ignored the colonial era railway system until recently, due to increase in the price of crude oil.

    Floating nuclear plant is great in irian. How about the power transmission?

    Rural bitumen roads are great in sulawesi, but it should be complemented by a dual carriageway (4 lanes) highway from one end to the other for java with a population of 100 million.

    Indonesia has neglected its population, most of whom are either underemployed /unemployed or lowly paid. The rich on the other hand do not have confidence with the authorities. Hence no money in the coffers. Dragon’s high interest rate regime will only lead to chaos and I believe indonesia have been implementing this strategy for decades under suharto with dismal results.better to peg rupiah to sinagpore dollars in the form of currency board since most of indonesia’s money seems to be deposited there and let the singaporeans work on the forex and interest rates instead of letting them get a free lunch.

    The japanese/UK/US all protected their industries at the initial stage. why not force all bulk commodity traders like coal/copper/palm and crude oil/lng to use only ships built in indoesia for their exports. This will create employment for all sectors of the indonesian social hierarchy.

    Java-sumatra bridge could be a a two laner (one east bound and another west bound). this will make it light enough to be build on floating platforms anchiored to the sea bed, except for the part where suspension bridge begins as the supporting tower will have to be firmly attached to the sea bed. If demand increases, then build another parallel bridge of similar design. Of course, a ferry is sufficient, but unchallenging. this should be a showcae for those obsses with ‘majapahit dream”.

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