Developers tipped on construction quality

Contractors and and real estate developers have been urged to observe construction guidelines when undertaking projects to ensure quality standards and safeguard against building collapse and losses. 
Workers at a building site. Checking the quality of materials promotes safety. The New Times / File
Workers at a building site. Checking the quality of materials promotes safety. The New Times / File

Contractors and and real estate developers have been urged to observe construction guidelines when undertaking projects to ensure quality standards and safeguard against building collapse and losses. 

“It is important to use the right cement and sand ratios as well as avoid shoddy work, which could lead to fatal building collapse,” Angella Asiimire, the Hima Cement regional brand manager, said. Asiimire was speaking during a sensitisation workshop for developers, building contractors and porters in Kigali on Sunday. She noted that proper site management was crucial for the successful completion of a project.

The sensitisation that started last month in Uganda will cover all East African Community partner states and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is aimed at raising awareness on the possible causes of project failures.

Four people were recently killed and about 30 others injured when a storied building they were working on in Nyagatare district collapsed.

Asiimire noted that it was also important for contractors to have testing equipment on construction sites to check all materials for quality.

“Most developers do not test the quality of the materials they use, which is wrong. Remember, some of the poorly-paid workers could be tempted to substitute genuine with fake cement to make some money. This compromises quality and could result into the building collapsing,” she noted.

Richard Mugisha, a construction engineer at Hima Cement, urged contractors to work with government organs like the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority and the Rwanda Bureau of Standards to ensure that project sites and materials meet quality and safety standards.

“Many contractors start projects before they verify the soil composition of a given site. Sometimes these projects are not approved by the responsible government bodies,” he noted. 

Contractors blamed the problem on investors who they say delay workers’ salaries, saying the practice lures builders to substitute the genuine construction materials with inferior ones.

“When workers are not paid well and on time, they will find ways of ‘compensating’ themselves, including stealing cement and other building materials,” Everest Bizimana, a local contractor, said.

Samuel Mporanzi, the standards lead officer at Rwanda Standards Board, said the body trains stakeholders to create awareness on sector guidelines.

He noted that RBS is due to sign an agreement with the Rwanda Institute of Engineers and Architects to compel members to abide by the industry regulatory framework and construction standards.

“There should never be a reason why engineers should not comply with construction standards. We believe they also owe the public an explanation whenever buildings collapse,” Mporanzi said in an earlier interview.

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