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Standards body moves to crack whip on dealers in fake construction materials

The days of unscrupulous dealers in the construction sector are numbered, thanks to the new drive by the Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) that will ensure that fake and substandard building materials do not enter the local market.
An RSB staff explains how they test the quality of  steel products. / Frederic Byumvuhore
An RSB staff explains how they test the quality of steel products. / Frederic Byumvuhore

The days of unscrupulous dealers in the construction sector are numbered, thanks to the new drive by the Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) that will ensure that fake and substandard building materials do not enter the local market. 

Dr Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, the director general of RSB, said to achieve this goal, the standards watchdog has established modern laboratories to test construction materials following increasing cases of non-compliance with regulations by some sector players.

 

Noting that poor quality materials affect infrastructure development in the country, Bagabe cautioned sector players, saying anyone found using fake materials would be apprehended and prosecuted over non-compliance with regulations. Developers will have their projects suspended, he added.

 

He noted that if the quality of materials used by the construction sector are not harmonised or meet the required standards, it could result into heavy losses.

 

“The local construction sector in general, including real estate development, is developing at a high rate. However, many stakeholders have been complaining about poor quality materials. So, we set up these labs as part of the efforts aimed at solving the problem to help prevent the likely consequences of using substandard construction materials,” Bagabe said. 

He was speaking during a press conference aimed at raising awareness about the safety of construction materials at RSB headquarters in Kicukiro on Friday. 

During the event, the standards watchdog’s officials took media and other stakeholders on a guided tour of the laboratories, explaining how they use the facilities to test for quality of building materials. 

The laboratories are categorised according to the type of materials used in the construction, such as cement, steel bars, roofing sheets, bricks and blocks, and each laboratory is equipped with modern machines to carry out different tests. 

The official said use of fake materials can lead to death, in case of collapsed buildings, and hurts the economy in terms of lost revenues and unfair competition presented by such materials. 

Besides, houses built using such materials do not last long. Bagabe called on the construction sector players to develop the culture of testing for quality of building materials to help prevent losses and damage caused by use of fake substandard materials. 

However, Dr Bagabe said the number of dealers and project owners who bring construction materials for testing is still low. 

He noted that there is a need for awareness campaigns to encourage people to test materials before construction works start. 

Antoine Mukunzi, the RSB division manager for national quality testing and laboratories, explained that they use universal testing machines to identify the forged materials. 

He added that the watchdog also has a modern metrology laboratory to provide verification and calibration services for accuracy and reliability of measurements, which in turn affect safety in case of building materials.

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