22 January 2013

Uganda: Poor Quality Sand On the Market Worries Builders

The construction experts are worried that the current poor quality of the building sand could have an adverse impact on the structural stability of buildings. This is resulted from growing construction industry in the country, especially in cities and urban areas.

The shortage of the local building materials has forced their prices up as dealers have started getting them from islands to the mainland at relatively higher prices. However, unscrupulous dealers are taking advantage of the increased demand for these materials, including sand, hardcore and half-inch stones among others, to sell those that are of poor quality. This compromises the quality of buildings.

Some harvest the building sand from the trenches and valleys brought by running water from downpour, while others deal in ordinary brown soils, which is disguised as the lake sand. Builders have been using this for laying bricks, but it is of poor quality.

The ten tyre tipper truck (magulu kkumi) for building sand ranges between sh370,000 and sh400,000 around the city, but is dependant on distance and the quality, while that of the plaster ranges between sh350,000 and sh370,000. The same lorry of hardcore costs about sh400,000.

Godfrey Mwanje, a city dealer in construction materials, says that most of the city hard-core and sand mines are overdrawn, forcing them to distant areas like Lake Victoria islands, while others are currently getting these materials from as far as Masaka district. He says site developers, who are opting for cheap building materials, especially the sand are compromising the quality of their structures.

Engineer John Paul Mukooza, managing director Akright Housing projects says it is advisable for any site developer to engage experts in building materials to ascertain their quality before effecting transaction.

"Anything can happen during the construction, including stealing of building materials and use of those that are of poor quality. Like cement, building sand plays an important role in the strength of the structures," said Mukooza.

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