Construction materials sector notes cutthroat competition

    Soft market. Labelling of cement is just one of the requirements to ensure standards compliance and traceability.

    The market for construction materials has shrunk considerably, leading to cutthroat competition that should be watched carefully, industry experts said.

    But according to the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) some makers and traders of substandard steel products are exploiting the quarantine restrictions and taking shortcuts that ultimately will harm the end-user.

    In a separate statement, the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) is strongly advocating the provision of accurate information on cement products being sold in the market through appropriately labelling.

    Ronald Magsajo, PISI president, said the group said will intensify its campaign against substandard and unmarked reinforced steel bars (rebars) after it found a new batch of suspect rebars from the same manufacturer.

    PISI said its vice president for technical affairs Joel Ronquillo has informed the Department of Trade and Industry that substandard rebars had been found in hardware stores in Central Luzon.

    Unmarked rebars along with rebars embossed with non-registered logos were also found.

    These rebars are banned because their manufacturer cannot be identified, traced and sanctioned, Magsajo said.

    “Low mass variation, for instance, is like asking someone to pay for 1 kilo of steel and only getting 900g,” he added

    Magsajo said PISI will intensify its test-buy operations and work closely with DTI to stop this malpractice and to protect the public.

    The latest samples were taken by PISI people from hardware stores and sent to the Bureau of Philippine Standards which sent them for testing by the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC).

    Based on MIRDC’s findings, the samples’ lug heights and mass variation did not conform with what the DTI requires to assure the integrity of the rebars for use in construction.

    Cemap meanwhile said proper labelling of cement will ensure compliance of manufacturers on standards as well as traceability on the origin of the product.

    Cemap said the Philippine National Standards (PNS) license number as well as the batch identification numbers and manufacturing dates are some of the information in the labels required by the PNS through Department Administrative Order 17-06.

    The group expressed “commitment to work with all stakeholders in promoting consumer welfare and protection as part of our advocacy and for the safety and overall benefit of Filipino cement consumers.”