By Taiwo Okanlawon
Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory, LSMTL, has sealed off some block moulding factories, over failure to comply with existing standards for their operations, and producing substandard products in the state.
The block factories were shut during an enforcement exercise of block moulders, site engineers, estate developers in Baruwa/Ipaja Alimosho Local Government led by Director-General of LSMTL, Dr Afolabi Abiodun Tajudeen on Wednesday, 4th, March 2020.
The agency alongside some members of the National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON) went around the Local Government to take some product samples at various block factories for laboratory test to determine their strength, fire resistance, water absorption among others.
According to Director-General, the essence of the exercise is to bring to the minimal level of building collapse in Lagos State, as the block moulders remain critical partners in its vision zero for building collapse in the state.
Tajudeen said the State Government was posed to ensuring total sanity in all construction works and has been working assiduously towards actualizing its vision of zero tolerance to building and civil engineering infrastructure collapse in the state with the cooperation of all the relevant stakeholders.
The General Manager urged the block moulders not to compromise standard but conform to specifications already given by Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), adding that the Agency, LSMTL is monitoring and enforcing the stipulated standards by the various regulating bodies for maximum compliance.
“I have been holding meetings with stakeholders that have one or two things to do in building and engineering construction and their associations, I told them, they’re de facto when it comes to building constructions, hence, what they produce needs to be checkmated, to ascertain the strength of their products if they are using right materials and the right proportions when they are mixing.
“The proportion of sand should be sharp sand, not sand from erosion, not sand packed from the gutter because we know some of them do it that way. We have also told them at our meetings that a cement mixed with the materials at the right proportions should not produce more than 25, at worst 30 blocks but in a case where cement is used to produce 45 or more blocks, we are saying no to that,” he stated.
“We have decided to monitor the block moulders to the site and each block owner must always stamp their block, so if anything eventually happens, we can trace the block to the owner,” he added.
Speaking about the factories that were sealed off, the Director-General said the action is to show that Lagos State Government has declared zero tolerance for block moulders factories and standardize the block making.
He said, “If you are mixing, a bag of cement should not give you anything more than 25 blocks but getting to this place, we discovered that what they are producing with is far higher than the stipulated number of blocks they should produce. Secondly, they don’t have a stamp, which means they have been supplying blocks that are non-traceable. So, if anything happens, we cannot know from which source that blocks were gotten.
“Their source of water is also questionable, we saw them bringing water with buckets, it shouldn’t be so. It is either you have a borehole or you have direct access to waterworks. We don’t want water from a gutter, stream and so on because those sources are receptors of many things like chemicals that will not allow you to get a good strength of what you want.
“They are quacks block moulders that have no references from us or the block moulders association. So this just to let everybody know that Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory is all out to standardize block making in the state because the era of quack is gone,” he added.
Speaking with pressmen, the National; President of (NABMON) Mr Rashidi Adebowale who said he was happy with the exercise, added that the agency’s actions will send a strong message to all block moulding industries to comply with requirements stipulated by the National Industrial Standards, NIS, under the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) as a way of tackling the menace of building collapse.