Standards body warns against importation of low quality building materials

The Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) has called upon traders supplying building materials to the construction industry to ensure that such materials pass the required standards.

The call was made yesterday at a meeting that brought together stakeholders in the industry to devise means to curb against the use of poor quality materials.

Dr. Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, Director General of RBS, said that substandard materials, especially roofing sheets, were illegitimately making their way into the market.

“Always contact us before you order for building materials from abroad. We are there to help you import good quality materials that are up to the required standards,” he told the business community.

“You should come to RBS and get standard specifications for particular construction materials and take them to factories where you’re going to import from.”

Cyubahiro stated that gauge 34 roofing sheets is barred from Rwanda as the material is too weak and can easily be destroyed by rains, saying roofing sheets allowed are gauge 32, 30, 28, 26, among others.

The use of poor quality building materials is cited as the main cause of the collapse of several buildings.

He mentioned that his institution is well equipped to test products for conformity to standards, adding that they are on alert to check against any influx of fake and sub-standard materials into the country.

According to Ayele Demissie Yilma, the Production Engineer at SANFITRA Roofing and Steel Rwanda, substandard construction materials pose a huge risk to people.

“As an engineer, I am against traders who deal in the importation of poor quality building materials because the end result is the collapse of a house built using shoddy materials,” he added.

He stated that an awareness campaign is essential to sensitise traders about the quality of materials that conform to set standards.

Jean Damascene Niyongabo, the CEO of Master Steel Limited, pointed out that his company has vast experience in dealing with roofing materials thus enabling them to identify substandard ones.

“Our colleagues who are new in the business industry are always the victims of the importation and manufacturing of poor quality building materials,” he asserted.

Niyongabo said that it was regrettable for newly built structures to collapse due to influx of substandard construction materials into the country.

Joseph Mfinanga, the Vice Principal of Academic and Training at Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC), Kicukiro campus, stated that students studying construction management at the institution are trained on use of quality of materials basing on guidelines set by RBS.

“We ensure that students are fully equipped with the knowledge and skills about the high quality standard construction materials that are in conformity with RBS,” he added.

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