CIF and NSI call for strict adherence to building standards

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Staff Reporter

WINDHOEK – Despite current tough economic times, the Construction Industries Federation of Namibia (CIF) and the Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) are both advising that construction standards are to be adhered to. The two organisations have called for the strict application of building standards and the stringent adherence to specifications for respective projects, particularly during government’s fiscal consolidation phase which has seen an efficient use of scarce financial resources both in the public and private sector.

The two bodies also feel that strict adherence would ensure correct processes and the use of certified material by an accredited certification body, which will increase the safety and longevity of structures.

“We are still experiencing tough times. Yet we have inspirational development goals. It would be important to ensure that any private or public expenditure is done within the parameters of acceptable quality. This would require that codes and standards are adhered to and are indeed exceeded,” said Bärbel Kirchner the consulting general manager of the CIF.

She added that for an effective and objective measure of quality in the development of building and civil structures, Namibia uses building codes and standards. “The codes provide a clear guideline on the expected minimum, and standards also provide a scope of acceptability and unacceptability in terms of building processes, equipment and the building materials being used. It protects all parties engaged with a project if they understand what the tolerances are; i.e. what would be regarded as acceptable and not acceptable,” Kirchner explained.

A signed MoU between the two institutions aims to raise awareness of the benefits of using respective standards for the construction industry and material suppliers, as well as raise awareness of how building codes and standards are being interpreted. Accordingly, the CIF hosted three information sharing workshops and training to raise awareness of standards and regulations in general, and specifically, in the building and construction sector. These took place in Windhoek, Ongwediva and Swakopmund on April 25, June 15 and June 22, 2018 respectively.

Chie Wasserfall, Chief Executive Officer of the NSI stated: “Most of the building materials used in Namibia are imported. It is therefore critical that these products are certified by an accredited or recognised institution. Currently the NSI verifies imported cement to ensure they meet the product requirements.

“If a manufacturer claims that a certain product meets the locally determined standards and regulation, it is important that the certification is displayed on the product packaging or labelling and a documented certificate is provided in English.”

Adherence to codes and specifications in standards not only secure acceptable minimum quality, but inclusion of standards in tender briefing documents can also have an impact on the costing of projects and will ensure a level playing field.

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