Experts in the construction sector drawn from 25 countries across Africa met in Kigali Wednesday to develop and harmonise construction standards.
The 5th technical harmonisation committee meeting on building and civil engineering was organised by Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).
Dr Shady Nabil Hammouda, chairperson of the committee, said it’s important to develop and harmonise standards and guidelines that address Africa’s style of building and adoption of international standards to ensure improved quality and safety of building and construction materials.
“Harmonising standards and guidelines on the continent facilitates trade of products among African countries as they all have the same standards. We already have five guidelines and four more guidelines will be developed in this meeting,” he said at the beginning of the meeting.
He added that it’s also time to raise awareness on the importance of standards.
RSB director general Raymond Murenzi said the meeting will come up with solutions to problems facing civil engineering and building sector in Africa and empower the sector to compete favourably with the rest of the world.
“It’s time to share knowledge and best practices on the latest technological innovations and challenges. Standards harmonisation for building materials and civil engineering is very crucial in facilitating policy and regulations in Africa. This will promote Made-in-Africa products as well as empower African construction materials manufacturing and constructing business performances,” he said.
He explained that the meeting facilitates open dialogue among Africans and provides opportunity for construction experts to involve in the transformation of African construction sector through network.
It was realised that population growth in Africa leads to swift and disorderly construction which results in collapsing of buildings. Participants called on stringent measures to ensure constructors comply with rules.
“Shortage of skilled labor, poor quality materials and incompliance with guidelines are some of the hindrances to quality construction in Africa. Inspection should be strengthened to ensure the standards are abided by,” said Eng. Dedeki Papias Kazawadi, a participant from Rwanda.
Gustave Mukelenge Matayabo, from DR Congo, said; “African construction market is flooded by foreign products. It would be great if a product is made in Africa and consumed by other African countries”
African Organisation for Standardisation was created in 1977. With 36 member states, its mission is to facilitate intra-African and global trade through providing and facilitating the implementation of harmonised standards.