Concrete industry gets tough
Tightening specifications for readymix concrete has led to a substantial growth in the membership of the Southern Africa Readymix Association (Sarma) from companies seeking to obtain formal accreditation of their plants and processes.
The association advocates using quality concrete only from suppliers that have been audited and accredited to have adequate safety, health, responsible road usage, environmental protection and quality systems in place. This would ensure that concrete delivered on site is of a sufficient standard for requirements on site and will minimize the risk of failures in future.
Recent high profile concrete failures, building collapses and the dismal state of certain low cost housing developments etc has caused the construction industry to become increasingly aware of the importance of dealing with accountable suppliers; and are insisting on procuring concrete from accredited suppliers only.
Speaking at a recent Sarma regional meeting in Gauteng, general manager Johan van Wyk said that the association had begun engaging member organizations within the construction industry, as well as Government and local government structures, to work together to make the specification of Sarma accredited readymix concrete mandatory.
“This is beginning to pay dividends and already a number of these industry organizations, several municipalities, mines etc have begun to stipulate the use of Sarma approved readymix on their sites. A positive effect of this is that more and more companies are joining Sarma and undergoing our separate annual audits for environmental compliance, as well as safety, health, quality and road safety compliance.
“These systems are based on ISO standards and are therefore internationally recognized and sufficient grounds to establish minimum standard for our industry. In addition Sarma has its own unique requirements and all our members are bound to uphold our codes of conduct, as well as abide by all relevant legislation governing the industry.
“As a result of this the standard of readymix concrete delivered in South Africa is higher than ever before and provided users make use of Sarma accredited members they are assured of receiving concrete that complies (at least) to our very high minimum standards. Unfortunately there are still a number of unregistered readymix companies who do not want to abide by these standards and the quality of concrete in these instances can be a hit-and-miss affair, said Johan.
He continued that membership of Sarma had grown to nearly 200 readymix plants this year with approximately 50 producer members. The increased collection of levies was assisting the association to reach out further to spread the awareness of the importance of dealing with accredited members, as well as continuing to work with Government and other structures to make Sarma accredited readymix the construction material of choice on all projects within southern Africa.
The introduction of unannounced audits on member sites would also be instituted from next year to ensure plants are running in compliance with requirements all year-round and prevent any “window-dressing” that may occur around audit times. Training workshops for members would also be stepped-up and skills development of workers within the industry would remain a top priority.
“We are also looking at other initiatives to join global readymix bodies in the USA and Europe, to begin fast-response teams to cleanup concrete spillages and to become the registering authority to register concrete technologists in South Africa.
“We will also continue working with bodies such as the Construction Industry Development Board, municipalities, engineers, institutes, and member organizations to ensure that the quality of concrete delivered is raised to a level where it can compete with the best in the world,” concludes Johan.
Sarma, Johan van Wyk, Tel: (011) 791 3327, Fax: 086 647 8034, Email: [email protected], Web: www.sarma.co.za