Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) and National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) have bemoaned the increased usage of substandard construction materials in projects.
MBS director general Davlin Chokazinga has spoken of his organisation’s resolve to wipe out traders involved in selling uncertified and substandard building materials on the market.
Over the years, the sale and use of substandard building materials has been an issue of concern with reports and random samples from wholesales and project sites done by the two authorities showing continued use of substandard construction materials.
In an interview on Monday, Chokazinga said a number of traders have already been warned by the bureau with the latest warning going out to a Mwanza-based entrepreneur who was found mixing cement and sand.
“Some of unscrupulous traders want to make quick money at the expense of the consumers. Usually, they bring cheap and substandard materials in this country through uncharted routes, bypassing the MBS.
“But through our investigations, we have established this and we together with NCIC will not rest until these are taken off the market and prosecuted,” he said.
NCIC chief executive officer Linda Phiri noted that project owners continue to fall prey to counterfeit products because of misleading branding and pricing, advising project owners, contractors and consultants to ensure that professionals are involved in all large-scale building projects, especially multi-stoyed buildings.
“Project managers and contractors need to take responsibility in ensuring use of certified building materials in compliance with codes of ethics of the industry.
“The council will deal with those found in breach of this,” she said in a statement.
Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE) vice-president Wilson Chirwa said substandard building materials should not be entertained on the market as they pose danger to the users of such products.
“Using substandard building materials such as reinforcement bars is a risk. When these are incorporated in building, chances are the building is likely to collapse since their strength is not as strong as required,” he said.
Chirwa has advised people to buy from reputable outlets and take samples to the shops when they want to buy building materials.