Reducing low cost housing repair bills
The use of quality approved readymix concrete in the development of Government housing projects will result in superior quality houses and will dramatically reduce the Government’s need to repair sub-standard houses.
Johan van Wyk, general manager of the Southern Africa Readymix Association (Sarma), says billions of Rands are spent annually on costly repairs on Government funded projects. However, many of these may be avoided through the specification of building materials that are approved by recognised industry bodies and that employ national standards and criteria to approve building materials.
He added that the association is of the opinion that readymix concrete should only be procured from organisations that can display credentials that are in keeping with such standards be allowed to bid on Government projects. “The time has come for government and private contractors to put a premium on quality and to work with industry bodies that are working hard to uplift standards and prevent the sale and use of inferior products on critical build projects.
“By insisting that suppliers are registered with credible industry associations that regulate members and carry out quality audits, government can be assured that all its requirements are met. Accreditation from Sarma means that members are compelled to adhere to a number of key criteria governing the manufacturing of concrete to ensure customers get what they pay for.
“Through our comprehensive quality management system (QMS), for example, we have designed a system specifically for the readymix industry and verifies compliance of our members on a number of key criteria. It is in line with international standards and sets certain minimum standards for the manufacture of readymix concrete, from supplier management to policies and procedures to final delivery of the mixed product.
“Verification is required along the way and accountability is assigned at each step in the process. Rigorous annual audits ensure the standards are maintained in line with safety, health, environment, road ordinance and quality requirements,” says Johan.
Just as the industry and Government point a fingers at “less than credible shovel, wheelbarrow and bakkie brigade construction groups”, so too should they stop using non-registered, unaffiliated concrete suppliers that are in effect a law unto themselves.” Readymix concrete, like many other products, needs to be made according to a careful recipe. By cutting costs or substituting certain ingredients with inferior products the end product will be a complete failure.
Cheap and inferior
Such concrete can be sold at an attractive price with an attractive profit margin for the supplier, but at the end of the day the end-user pays the price for poor quality. Fly-by-night operators most commonly substitute quality cement with inferior product, add excessive extenders, use low quality, illegally obtained sand and aggregates or add too much water to the mix to make it easily pourable.
“These are a recipe for disaster as each will have an extremely negative effect on the concrete when it has cured. When one considers that concrete is the most important ingredient of low-cost houses from foundation to building blocks, as well as the mortar and plaster that holds houses together it is clear to see the value in using Sarma members,” concludes Johan.