One striking revelation from the report by National Building Review Board -NBRB about the building that collapsed in Kisenyi was: the building had been constructed with substandard steel produced by Pramukh Steel Ltd.
The building that collapsed in Makindye recently
“It was observed that the yield strength of 4 steel reinforcement samples representing 44% was less than the required strength," says the report on the Kisenyi killer building that colapsed last month killing several people. "In particular columns and some beams was less by 26.0 to 36.4% which is a substantial difference.”
revelation from the report by National Building Review Board -NBRB about the
building was the naming of the source of the substandard material: '...the building had been constructed with
substandard steel produced by Pramukh Steel Ltd."
The report further
says, “it is also noticeable that the strength of steel samples tested reduced
with increased diameter. The level of deviation observed indicateS that the
manufacturer of steel used on the site is producing reinforcement that does not
conform to requirements set by Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).”
products have been on the markets for more than a decade, according to
information on its website. Its manufacturing plant is situated in Njeru, Buikwe
Its products (high
yield strength steel bars and sections, steel for the reinforcement of concrete
and high yield strength steel bars) are certified by UNBS.
The company boasts
that it is an East Africa manufacturer exporting its products to
Kenya, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Southern Sudan. Company
officials did not pick repeated phone calls when contacted through mobile lines
on its website.
However, NBRB says it’s not the first time that they have found
substandard construction materials on the market. Its officials say poor
quality products come from many companies.
“Clearly, there is an issue with the
products that are on the market and as the board we are
taking note of those incidences where materialS fall below standard and then we
notify Uganda National Bureau of Standards to investigate these companies,” Engineer Nicholas Omoding, the head of Investigations at the
National Buildings Review Board said in an interview.
But UNBS spokesperson
Kirabo Sylvia says they HAVE not received any report from NBRB and thus they can’t
talk about it.
“Unless we have that communication officially, we can’t you give
information,” she said. "UNBS, Kirabo says, would want to understand how NBRB did
the sampling, what particular product, which sizes as well as where sample was
“We are constrained to respond to allegations. If it's an official
report, they should be able to give us a copy.”
Omoding however thought
UNBS officials should have heard of the substandard products in the newspapers
or radios given that the building that collapsed in Kisenyi was covered extensively
says the report will be shared with UNBS. The report recommended an
investigation of Pramukh.
Kirabo did not if UNBS was bothered enough by the numerous media reports on the Kisenyi incident to check on the quality of the steel used in its beams and columns with or without an official communication about it from NBRB .
The challenges in the
construction sector are always brought to the fore when buildings collapse: developers
using unapproved plans, hiring unqualified professionals, poor quality
materials, lack supervision, corruption, lack of deterrent penalties for those not
following the laws among others.
Sector experts propose
different remedies. For instance, Nick
Twimatsiko, an author and civil engineering consultant in a recent
interview argued that training institutions are churning out poor quality diploma
graduates who taking up complex projects. Such graduates, he said, may not even understand
quality of construction products as well as how to mix sand and cement for a
Apollo Buregyeya, a civil engineering
lecturer at Makerere University says more supervision of construction phases is
needed. It doesn’t make sense; he argues, for standards regulators to ensure that cement meets a certain standard yet there is no supervision of
how that cement is mixed with sand on the construction site.