Many Ghanaian Contractors hardly present their building materials to the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) for standardized testing in direct contravention of the building code.
The building code mandates that materials for building and road construction must be tested.
Madam Genevieve Baah Mante, Head of the Material Science Department, GSA, disclosed to the Ghana News Agency in Tema in an interview that local contractors do not willingly do so.
“But on the contrary, the foreign companies mostly visit the GSA for testing for the specification of their building materials, which include water, concrete mixtures, sand, and iron rods, aggregate for road construction, thermoplastic marking paint, among others,” she said.
Madam Mante explained that “the GSA has developed a building code that gives specifications for different products for the construction of buildings, and roads, but we have observed that mostly it is the foreign companies that bring their products there for checking.”
She stated for example that foreign contractors of a lot of the buildings at the airport area, and the motorway interchange construction tested the materials and even the water used for the projects.
She said more awareness must be created among the local contractors while urging the district assemblies to make it a requirement for the issuance of building permits.
Giving the benefit of testing building materials, she indicated that the land that the building would be put on must be tested because if it contained a lot of organic matter the buildings would have problems.
“The water that you use to mix the concrete if it contains a lot of salt and other materials, it will not help you to get the kind of binding property of the concrete that you need to have for a consistent product,” she said.
Madam Mante observed that roads and buildings that could not last for their expected life span could be attributed to the lack of testing of the materials.
She explained that the GSA is legally mandated to undertake national standards development and dissemination, testing services, inspection activities, product certification scheme, calibration, verification, and inspection of weights, measures, and weighing and measuring instruments.
The Authority also undertakes pattern approval of new weighing and measuring instruments, destination inspection of imported high-risk goods, and promoting quality management systems in the industry.
Madam Mante said the Authority also advises the Ministry of Trade and Industry on standards and related issues.
She emphasized that the services rendered by GSA were essential for economic growth, stressing that, “this is because standards bring technological, economic and societal benefits.
“It helps to harmonize technical specifications of products and services making the industry more efficient and breaking down barriers to international trade as conformity to standards helps reassure consumers that products are safe, efficient and good for the environment”.
For business organizations, Madam Mante said standards are strategic tools and guidelines to help companies tackle some of the most demanding challenges of modern business.
“Standards ensure that business operations are as efficient as possible, increase productivity and help companies and institutions to access new markets,” she said.