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Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment gives new cement standard

Added on 15th May 2014 ⋅ Posted in - Construction & Infrastructure
After a fierce battle among stakeholders in the cement industry over the correct standard of the product to be enforced in the country to ensure its safe use for building and construction, THISDAY can authoritatively report that the final approval which makes the new cement standard mandatory has been given by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Based on this approval which was granted by the Minister, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, all cement manufactured locally or imported must meet the approved standards.

The new standard for cement which has now been fully approved by the federal government and would soon be vigorously enforced after a short grace period to enable all manufacturers in the country comply is tagged: ???NlS 444-1???, which automatically becomes the new composition and conformity criteria for cement in the country.

THISDAY gathered that following the new order, the information on application of the product are as follows: The highest grade, CEM I 52.5R and 52.5N, which could be simply referred to as the 52.5 cement grade, would now be used for the construction of bridges.

The second highest grade which is the CEM II 42.5R, 42.5N or simply called the 42.5 grade, has been ruled to be used for casting of columns, beams, slabs and for block moulding.

The last cement grade referred to as CEM I & II 32.5R, 32.5N or simply called the 32.5 cement grade would henceforth be used only for plastering of buildings.

The standards recalibration brings to an end the raging controversy over which cement should be used for building and construction to avoid structural failure and building collapse.

According to a source in the ministry, the new guidelines would ???enable the end users make the right choice; help to avoid unethical application of the different types of cement; enhance proper identification of the different cement classes and enhance traceability as well as guide users.???

The ministry source however noted that: ???The standards were reviewed because they had attained the five-year mandatory period for review as well as concerns over the quality of cement in the Nigerian markets. There are also fears of misapplication of the different strength classes of cement which was allegedly attributed to the frequent collapse of buildings in Nigeria.???

Earlier in the year, after a coalition of civil society organisations protested against cement manufacturers for the production of the lower grade 32.5 cement, which they blamed for the spate of building collapse that occurred frequently across the country, the two major cement manufacturers- Dangote and Lafarge, were caught on two opposite sides of what became a fierce debate.

While Dangote announced that it had moved ahead to enhance its production process to turn out a higher grade 42.5 cement, Lafarge, Unicem, Ashaka and others insisted that they must continue with the production and distribution of the lower grade 32.5 cement, stressing that there was nothing wrong with it.

Wading into the crisis, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) convened a technical committee made up of all the relevant stakeholders and experts in the cement sub-sector such as cement manufacturers, universities, research institutes, consumer associations, block moulders, non-governmental organisations, ministries, departments and agencies, among others, who fully participated in the activities leading to the review of the standards

The review addressed the application of the various grades of cement as well as additional information and features to be printed on the cement packaging. The features and information include: colour code for proper identification according to strength grades and the coloured part of the bag with the labelling information is to take one-third of the bag surface on both sides. Also, the address of manufacturer, batch number and expiry date shall be stated under the new regime on cement
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