Block moulders and artisans nationwide have been enjoined to adhere strictly to quality and shun acts that could compromise the standard of their products. They were also given hints on how to detect fake or adulterated cement.
Against the background of constant building collapse across the country, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) said block moulders occupy a strategic position in the building industry and therefore should make quality their watchword.
The SON gave the advice in Port Harcourt, Rivers State during a recent sensitisation workshop organised by Dangote Cement Plc in collaboration with the regulatory organisation for the block moulders and other artisans from Bayelsa and Rivers states.
Speaking during a presentation at the workshop, SON’s Asst. State Director, Engr. Lillian Gua emphasised the need for the artisans to know the right mixes in the production of blocks so that they would be able to achieve the expected quality.
The SON boss took the participants through the work of her organisation and how products are certified as being standard while citing Dangote cement as an example of a certified product whose quality has been tested and found to be accurate.
She enjoined the participants to acquaint themselves with the steps and processes involved in getting a product certified so that they would not be deceived into buying fakes. Gua added that every certified product is issued a certificate of standard as proof of having gone through the quality test conducted by the SON.
Gua thanked the management of Dangote Cement Plc for the workshop, saying the participants need such sensitisation sessions from time to time to keep them abreast of developments especially as it affects the quality and standard of products.
In his presentation, Technical Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr Adeiza Aniki explained that the sensitisation workshop was meant to update and refresh the block moulders and artisans’ recent events in the industry, as much as standard and quality are concerned.
He stated that Dangote Cement holds the participants dearly as a critical point in the cement value chain and has therefore made the workshop a periodic exercise so that the company could also get feedback from the market and help in meeting the demands of the customers at all time.
Aniki told the participants of the need to contribute to the efforts at stemming building collapse in the country and one of the ways they can do that is by adhering to quality and exposing bad eggs wherever they see any.
He told the block moulders and artisans that they can rely on Dangote Cement at any time and went ahead to give them hints on how they can ascertain the quality of cement as a major component in the block making process.
According to him; “check the manufacturing date of cement because the strength of cement reduces with age, and also the cement expiry date should not be exceeded as at the time of use. Ensure batch codes are available on the bags found at the site.
“Check for the presence of lumps in the cement. Check for hydration of cement by checking for the presence of lumps, which is a sign of absorption of moisture from air or environment, due to poor storage or damaged bags.
“Check for the excess amount of dust in cement, which is called float test. To do this, put a small quantity of cement in a bucket of water. If the cement floats on the water for some time before it sinks, the cement is of good quality. If the cement sinks immediately after it touches the water, the cement is a bad quality cement.
“Check for temperature. If it is cool inside the bag, the cement should be considered good quality, but if it is warm inside, the process of hydration is taking place, hence strength will be affected. Make sure you keep the cement in a dry environment.
“Check for cement adulteration, it makes the cement poorer in quality by the addition of another substance. Rub the cement between the fingers and if it gives a smooth feeling, the cement is of good quality; but if it feels gritty or rough, it means other substances have been added. This is a sign of bad quality cement. It will lower strength.
“And lastly, check for odour. This can be used to evaluate the presence of clay or silt. If the cement contains too much clay and silt as an adulterant, it will give an earthy smell,” he added.
Aniki explained that Dangote cement has made available different grades and varieties of cement to suit the use of its customers in many ways, citing 3X, Falcon and BlocMaster as some of the varieties in the market.