Block makers in the Ashanti region have expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of raw materials in the market.
They observed that a reduction in the quality and size of essential materials such as cement and iron bars jeopardized the level of their block production, ultimately affecting their profit gains.
Stakeholders in the construction industry have urged the Ghana Standards Authority to strengthen its oversight of construction products in the market.
The antiquated buildings erected among the contemporary settlements have proven their resistance to the test of time, which, according to experts, owes mainly to the quality of the raw materials used in their construction.
But block makers argue that recent metrology and the quality of raw materials for construction work do not meet the standard.
Director of Akadire Blocks Factory, Ayingura Awene was worried about the new challenge.
“The sand, the quarry products we source, the cement and the irons have all had their standards compromised. Now there is an influx of cement which is good for the economy. But one of the challenges we have identified recently is that the cement weight is not good. This affects design, especially for those of us who work with volumes. Because they may think one bag of cement weighs 50kg, maybe it is the dimension, so they will add other materials to get the products. So they add up without taking the actual measurement. Ultimately, there could be some form of deficiency in their products,” he said.
In 2018, the government, in collaboration with the Ghana Standards Authority, established the National Building Code to ensure the safety of all public, residential and industrial buildings across the country.
The policy aims to streamline players in the Ghanaian construction industry with a common standard for public safety and protection, structural efficiency and environmental integrity.
In response to concerns raised at an awareness workshop, the Ghana Standards Authority’s Acting Middle Belt Director, Samuel Kofi Frimpong, assured stringent measures to rid the market of substandard products.
“Our men will quickly go to the field to carry out checks. We will also contact manufacturers to facilitate locating these producers to test their products and ensure they meet the standard. If not, there will be sanctions and even plant closures to ensure the industry is sane,” he said.
Meanwhile, industry players are calling for a review of policies guiding block certification.
They argue that the exorbitant cost of certification is out of proportion to the current market environment and can adversely affect their business.
“The law that was passed there was not subject to real consultation. Every time we ask them, they tell us that the consultation they did goes back 20 years. From that time, the quality of the materials used for production was different and so was the environment. They did not perform any market analysis. They should have consulted us before passing the law”, underlines one of the industrialists.