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October 18, 2017

Kebs to ban low-grade twisted bars in building

A police officer secures the scene of the collapsed fivestorey building in Kariobangi South estate, Nairobi, on August 2, 2016 /JACK OWUOR
A police officer secures the scene of the collapsed fivestorey building in Kariobangi South estate, Nairobi, on August 2, 2016 /JACK OWUOR

The Kenya Bureau of Standards will in six months ban the use of twisted metal bars in construction as they are substandard.

It is advocating for the use of ribbed bars, which are stronger and have a longer lifespans compared to the twisted ones.

Managing director Charles Ongwae said they are working with manufacturers to implement the ban.

He said the use of twisted bars has seen some buildings collapse.

“The ribbed bars have a higher quality, longer lifespan and are expensive than the twisted ones and contractors should go for them,” Ongwae said.

Europe banned the use of the twisted bars many years ago after tests indicated that they were substandard.

This emerged when KEBS held a one-day workshop for journalists in a Nakuru hotel.

During the workshop, Ongwae blamed the importation of counterfeit and substandard goods from China on greedy Kenyans who want to make quick cash.

The MD said in China, there are four standards — international, national, regional and — all targeting different markets.

“Kenyans traders will import those goods under the regional and enterprise category and they are lower in standard,” he said.

To address the rising cases of importing substandard goods, Ongwae said KEBs has come up with a certificate of conformity targeting importers.

“The problem is that the substandard goods are imported and later smuggled from the Port of Mombasa and flood the market,” he said.

Ongwae said that since the inception of KEBs 43 years ago, it has achieved a lot and developed hundreds of standards.

“To date, KEBs has developed 8,600 standards targeting various products and of the number 1,200 have been harmonised within the East Africa Community,” he said.

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