The controversies surrounding the right quality of cement has been laid to rest with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegu Aganga reported to have approved new cement standards in the country.
The approved standards based on the recommendation of the Technical Committee set by the Governing Board of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), in the wake of cement quality debate by the stakeholders has been given mandatory compliance by the local manufacturers of cement and importers as well.
Earlier, SON Governing Council recently meet in Abuja and approved the TC recommendation on the new cement standards before it was sent to Minister Aganga for final approval
A top official of SON confirmed in Lagos yesterday that approval which is already being conveyed to the manufacturers, showed that the new grade-strengths of cement production in Nigeria NlS 444-1, which automatically becomes the new composition and conformity criteria for common cement in the country.
The SON Official said however that the industry operators will be given few months to enable them time to implement the new rules.
Said he: “The standards were reviewed because the existing ones had attained five year mandatory period for review as well as due to concerns over the quality of cement in the Nigerian markets. There are also fears over misapplication of the different strength classes of cement which was allegedly attributed to the frequent collapse of buildings in Nigeria.
“All the relevant stakeholders and experts in the cement sub-sector such as Cement Manufacturers, Universities, Research Institutes, Consumer Associations, Block Moulders Association of Nigeria, Non-Governmental Organizations, Ministries, Departments and
Agencies, among others, fully participated in the activities leading
to the review of the standards.”
According to him, the review incorporated information on the application of the various grades of cement as well as additional information and features on the bag of cement.
He stated further; the features/information include: colour code for proper identification
according to strength class and the coloured part of the bag with the labelling information is to take one-third of the bag surface on both sides. Again, the location address of manufacturer, batch number and expiry date shall be stated under the new regime on cement.
Following the new order, the information on application of the product are as follows:
· CEM I 52.5R and 52.5N for use in the construction of bridges;
· CEM II 42.5R, 42.5N for use in the casting of columns, beams,
slabs, block moulding.
· CEM I & II 32.5R, 32.5N for plastering of buildings only.
According to the source, the new guidelines would enable the end-users make the right choice, help to avoid unethical application of the different types of cement; enhance proper identification of the different cement classes, for traceability as well as to guide the users.
It would be recalled that recently newspapers were awash with the issue of weak cement resulting to building collapse.
This made SON to set up a high powered technical committee to look at
the existing grades of cement in the country with a view to recommending the best grades that should be in place for the good of the country.