12 April 2024

Caption: A section of the Fick Sementwerke testing laboratory.

The following article is written by David Beer on behalf of the Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA).

CMA producer member, Fick Sementwerke, has entrenched its commitment to producing an exceptionally high and consistent standard of precast concrete products by implementing the Concrete Manufacturers Association Certification System (CMACS).

The company produce three product ranges, concrete block pavers, masonry blocks and bricks and retaining wall blocks to SANS standards, all of which are CMACS certified.

CMACS is a SANAS accredited agency specialising in the certification of precast concrete products.

Fick Sementwerke financial manager, Felecia Paulissen, says that the implementation of the CMACS certification system was borne out of Fick Sementwerke founder and managing director, Anton Fick’s passion for precast concrete products.

“From the day he founded the company in 1995, Anton instilled a culture of quality, self-discipline and accountability in our manufacturing processes and he has always striven to improve our products and our service levels.

“Although our first CMACS audit was in November 2023, most of our quality management systems were introduced in 2020 when we built a laboratory to test all our products on a regular basis. And the fact that we had always followed health and safety procedures and the training that went with them, made our implementation process quicker and easier.

“Prior to our implementation we conducted an internal audit and a gap analysis. This enabled us to align our CMACS policies and objectives with our end products. It also involved improving our documentation and quality control procedures and training our staff.

“Branding our product range with the CMACS logo has opened new markets for us, strengthened our reputation as a trusted provider and, most importantly, has given our customers peace of mind,” said Paulissen.

Anton Fick added that a crucial element in maintaining consistent quality levels is the testing of all raw materials.

“We added a sieving machine to our laboratory in 2020 to check dust quantities and stone sizes and this enables us adapt our batch mixes accordingly so that products are consistently maintained at optimal levels. And getting our mixes right makes it easier for us to comply with the CMACS water-absorption levels on our pavers.

“We have also introduced a water absorption test for our brick and blocks although it is not a CMACS requirement. Rather than waiting seven days for the first test on a new batch, the test tells us immediately if a new batch meets our performance criteria.

“There is a big difference between claiming to produce to SANS standards and being certified to do so. One of the aspects which persuaded us to go with the CMACS system is that the agency has in-depth knowledge of precast concrete production and its certification is their sole focus,” said Fick.

CMACS director, Henry Cockcroft, said that Fick Sementwerke quality management system sets the benchmark for the rest of the industry.

“Fick Sementwerke epitomises perfection. We certify some very professional precast concrete producers, but we have never come across such a meticulously and well-formulated quality management system,” concluded Cockcroft.

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