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Stakeholders urge SON to monitor steel bar production

IN line with the passion for safe building industry, stakeholders have urged the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and other regulatory bodies to ensure that production of reinforcement bars and steel in Nigeria complies with prescribed standard.

Their call came on the heels of depreciation of naira, which they observed have not impacted negatively on the prices of concrete reinforcement steel.

The stakeholders in the construction industry, among them builders, building material merchants and others, pointed out that two popular grades of locally manufactured high tensile reinforcement steel bars (steel rebar) in the Nigerian building materials’ market, have been attracted stable price, despite the downward in the Nigeria’s currency, vis-à-vis foreign currencies.

According to them, price of the high grade H.T. steel rebar has remained N140,000 per tonne for the past four years while that of the low grade H.T. steel rebar has been hovering around N100,000 per tonne for the same period. However, exchange rate of Naira to 1 US Dollar was around N156 in 2012 while it is fluctuating around N300 to 1 USD today, which informed the concern of the stakeholders.

Speaking on the issue during the visit to some areas in Lagos Island where some buildings were being inspected last week, Mr. Taiwo Chukwu, an engineer, who is also the Coordinator, BCPG Yaba Cell, said the situation requires vigilance by the building regulators.

Chukwu, said that imported billet or locally recycled scraps are the raw materials being melted to manufacture the reinforcement steel bars used for construction in Nigeria, but because almost 26 rolling mills in the country are not functioning as expected.

“If the cost of production has remained static in the 26 functioning out of the 36 steel rolling mills in Nigeria, there would be no cause for alarm. But if the cost of production has increased during this period, then it is interpreted that the steel manufacturing companies either have very wide, flexible profit margin or the steel quality has been compromised”, he argued.

Life Patron, Nigerian Association of Artisan, Epe Local Government Division, who is also Managing Director Segson Nigeria Ltd., a building materials dealer, Mr. Segun Ogunade, said in order to determine the quality of reinforcement available in the country, both chemical and mechanical tests would be required to ascertain the quality of the steel rebar.

He said carbon, manganese, sulphur, phosphorus, copper, silicon, aluminum and nitrogen contents at percentages that meet the specifications of the Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) would make the rebar acceptable for construction work. However, such steel rebar when subjected to tensile test must meet the specified yield strength and percentage elongation after fracture”, he advised.

In his comment, National Publicity Secretary, Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), who is also President, BCPG, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, wants the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to ensure consistent compliance to standards through quality control or monitoring mechanism.

Originally published in The Guardian

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