Concrete blocks which are used in the Jamaican construction industry.
THE construction industry will have to adhere to a raft of new guidelines following the launch of new standards for hollow concrete blocks and ready-mixed concrete.
The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) launched the updated standards on Tuesday.
Speaking at the launch event, Minister of Industry, Investment & Commerce Aubyn Hill said, “The launch of these revised standards could not have come at a more opportune time. Jamaicans are investing significant resources in the built space and environment for their families, businesses and communities.”
He encouraged industry players to abide by the standards now that the BSJ has developed them. The National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NRCA) is charged with ensuring compliance as these standards have been published as mandatory standards. Monitoring and compliance will mean that the safety of citizens and visitors will not be compromised.
“I therefore encourage those in the industry not to cut corners with the process of making these hollow concrete blocks or with the ready-mixed concrete. The method for making these blocks is outlined in the JS 35. Utilise the services that are available to you to build on the firm foundation these standards layout. As you build your businesses, reach out to the Quality Institute and develop a training programme that works for you and your team,” Hill cautioned.
The laboratories at the BSJ have been certified by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation. Developers are being urged to use this facility to test the products and refrain from waiting for the compliance inspectors to come and find deficiencies. “Be masters of your products,” Hill continued.
The minister also urged his colleagues in Government to act responsibly.
“Over the years, many of us have responded to the cries of our fellow Jamaicans who have asked for a little block-making machine to get them established. As you extend a 'hand up', encourage them to register with the NCRA and to seek training from the Quality Institute of the BSJ. We want to build a strong foundation of quality.”
He noted that the construction sector features significantly in developing communities and in overall creation of jobs, the stimulation of economic growth and national development, and it utilises a wide range of inputs. These include building materials and supplies, labour and professional services, transportation and other inputs.
He further added that standards impact organisations and economies and are integral to the nation's growth and development. “It is critical that at every level of our society, we incorporate best-in-classstandards to enhance our planning, project implementation and safety requirements. The value of standards is immeasurable. They allow people from all across the world to confidently produce items that can be utilised anywhere under internationally agreed guidelines and conditions.”
The BSJ developed the standards specifically with the assistance of the members of the Building and Associated Materials Technical Committee at no cost to the BSJ and the country.
In its performance review of the October to December 2021 quarter, the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) reported a 6.4 per cent increase in real value added for the construction industry, which was primarily spurred by growth in both building construction as well as other construction components. The PIOJ also recorded a 16.4 per cent real increase in the sales of construction related inputs – hardware, building supplies and electrical goods. This is confirmed what was observable across the island every day – there is a significant growth in the construction sector of our economy.
Source: Jamaica Observer
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