Construction Industries enters into quality assurance agreement
The Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) and the Construction Industries Federation (CIF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) earlier this week, to improve the implementation of standards in the construction industry.
Through the cooperation agreement, the NSI will engage CIF members on applicable standards available for relevant industry sector and will provide discounts on the sale of standards. The NSI will further offer training to the federation and its members on the importance and application of Standards.
Speaking at the signing CIF’s President, Nico Badenhorst stated that the construction industry is at risk due to the absence of a National Construction Council, which needs to be promulgated by Parliament: “Anybody and everybody can own and operate a construction business, irrespective of qualification, experience and the necessary business acumen or technical know-how.”
He added that the Namibian National Construction Council would allow for the licensing and classification of contractors and ensure that size of contractor is matched with size of project, and that certain size of projects are reserved for certain categories of contractors.
Furthermore, the vice-president of CIF, Panashe Daringo explained the implementation of the cooperation agreement will be done in stages. The first stage focuses on raising awareness and engaging project owners, consulting engineers, principal agents and clients and encouraging that successful tenders demonstrate ownership of the standards required for the project. The next stage will look at the training and advising project owners on the application of standards. “How is it possible that we have numerous projects abandoned due to poor workmanship? Pot holes and skew walls, cracks and leaks? It is because the specifications were not adhered to,” Daringo said.
Also speaking at the signing was NSI’s CEO, Chie Wasserfall informed CIF representatives in attendance that the NSI has a dedicated Technical Committee on Building Construction, Cement and Concrete Technologies. “This technical committee is tasked with adopting standards dedicated for the building construction industry. I therefore call upon the CIF members to participate in the development of standards in this sector to ensure that quality and good practice persist,” Wasserfall said.
She further expressed her concern on occupational health and safety in the construction industry that needs to be addressed, stating “to address the occupational health and safety concern, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), is developing a new standard, ISO 450001 Occupational health and safety management systems. This standards set out requirements that will help organisations reduce the burden by providing a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions, all over the world.”
The Deputy Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Piet Van der Walt stated that applying international standards in construction not only provides technical advantages, but also social, economic and environmental gains.”We are happy to note that standards are systematically reviewed and improved and they can provide technical foundations for legislation and serve as a basis for nation regulation, which prevent creating unnecessary barriers to trade” he noted. The MoU is effective from 22 November for a period of three years.