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26.10.2005 General News

New testing equipment for building and construction

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Accra, Oct 26, GNA - The Ghana Standards Board (GSB), on Wednesday launched new testing equipment for the building and construction industry to enhance the quality of operations in the industry. The six different types of equipment included a concrete pipe, a computer controlled testing machine, a hand-operated compressing machine, an electrically operated machine and an operated slab machines as well as a mobile laboratory for the testing of sandcrete and pavement blocks.

They were obtained with credit from the International Development Agency under the Private Enterprises and Privatisation Technical Assistance Project (PEPTA), which began in 1999.

With the acquisition, the GSB can now conduct tests on the crushing strength of concrete pipes and culverts, compressive strength of sandcrete and pavement blocks, mortar and concrete cubes and beams; tensile strength of steel reinforcing bars and iron rods as well as bending strength of steel bars, concrete beams, kerbs and wood. Launching the equipment, Mr Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, observed that the application of standards and quality had propelled countries to achieve middle-income status in the globalised market.

He said the Ministry of Trade and Industry had launched the Trade Sector Support Programme, which consisted of 27 projects of which Meteorology, Testing, Quality and Standardisation played a significant role in ensuring a country's competitiveness in industry, health and safety of consumers and environmental protection.

Mr Osei-Ameyaw noted the rapid development of the building industry, which could be sustained if inputs met required standards and quality.

He therefore urged the practitioners to be abreast with the requirements of their work to ensure total quality management, and appealed to them to support the GSB with financial and material inputs for the development of new standards.

Mr Frederick Akwaboah, President of the Ghana Institution of Engineers reminded built operators that the use of substandard materials was partly identified as the cause of the recent collapse of two buildings under construction in Swalaba in Accra and Asawasi in Kumasi. He said the starting point for achieving high standards is the use of high quality products in construction.

Mr Akwaboah stated that specification clauses spelt the properties and minimum standards that building materials must possess to guarantee the required performance and durability, adding that such properties could only be established through reliable testing facilities.

He called on the GSB to strengthen its activities by collaborating with the Engineers' Institution in the preparation of new Ghana Standards specifications for building materials not previously covered by GSB, and regular training workshops for contractors and artisans in the correct use of building materials and construction techniques. Mr Adu Darkwa, the Executive Secretary of the GSB, asked for the support of all Ghanaians, saying it was the responsibility of manufacturers, suppliers, engineers, designers and purchasing agents to have respect for standards.

He said the National Building Regulation LI 1630:1996 Clause 29(1) and (2) described the necessary requirements for all stakeholders in the building and construction industry, reiterating constant surveillance for quality standards on buildings, pavements, roads, kerbs without posing danger before action was taken.

Mrs Gladys Amoah-Boateng, Director of Human Resources, of the Ministry of Works and Housing called for budgetary allocation from the MOTI to the GSB, and training of GSB staff to ensure efficiency in the use of the testing machines. 26 Oct 05