The House of Representatives yesterday upheld the use of 42.5mpa grade cement for standard construction work in the country, saying it is more durable and less susceptible to misapplication.
The House, which adopted the report of the Hon. Yakubu Dogara (APC, Bauchi)-led committee, which investigated the incidence of collapsed buildings in the country, appealed to the governing council of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to ensure that all cement manufacturers in Nigeria retool and upgrade their production lines to start producing the recommended 42.5 cement grade.
According to the House report, “The 42.5mpa grade of cement should be the minimum standard of cement for construction work because it is less susceptible to misapplication and most stakeholders will prefer it if given the chance to choose between 32.5 mpa and 42.5 mpa grades.”
The House’s endorsement of the higher 42.5mpa grade of cement as the accepted standard of cement for all-purpose building and construction work in the country, supports the step already taken by SON to relegate the lower 32.5mpa cement grade for the purpose of plastering only.
Recommending that government should create a cement fund from proceeds of cement imported into Nigeria, it suggested that the fund should be managed by a task force to be set up by the SON, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) and the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB).
Also recommended was the expeditious passage of the National Building Code Bill, which they said should be strictly enforced to check quackery, the use of substandard building materials, and to serve as a tool for the regulation of the informal downstream sector of the industry.
Other recommendations are that “all cement packages must clearly and boldly indicate their grades, uses and expiry dates with tamper proofing on the packages to guard against repackaging by middlemen; SON should ensure that all cement distributions withdraw expired cement from their warehouses and markets and destroy them”.
While urging the government to take immediate steps to establish a cement and concrete institute, as is the case in many jurisdictions, the House said government should also revive all technical schools across the country and establish new ones to improve on the pool of qualified artisans and for producing skilled as well as semi-skilled workers.
It said government should also set up a National Quality Assurance programme, using designated agencies and some professional bodies to regularly test samples of cement produced before they are sold in the open market.