Uganda: Jinja Gets Shs350m Building Material Laboratory

15 October 2020

A Shs350m laboratory is being constructed on Obote Way in Jinja City to ensure quality of all building materials.

Mr Ronald Menya, the works superviser and consultant from Infrastructure Development and Management Company Limited, on Tuesday said the project is being funded by the World Bank under Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development Programme.

Mr Menya said the laboratory will address the use of substandard materials for the construction of roads and houses.

"The equipment will test all the buildings to see whether they are habitable, while an enforcement team of engineers will be constituted to inspect all buildings that are being erected in Jinja City before they are occupied," he said.

Mr Menya said some of the materials that will be tested include soil samples, sand, asphalt, concrete, cement, timber, bricks, stones and iron bars, among others.

Mr Peter Mawerere, the city deputy Town Clerk, said the facility will save residents from travelling to Kampala to have their construction materials tested.

"The laboratory is now in Jinja City where everyone will easily access it, and it will also improve on the quality of the buildings being constructed in Jinja. Buildings collapse because of many reasons, so we are putting in place measures that will reduce on the number of structures that collapse and kill people," he said, adding that the laboratory will levy a small charge for its services.

Nine months ago, six people died and several others sustained injuries after a two-storeyed building on Plot 17, Gokhale Road in Jinja City caved in.

Residents attributed the tragedy to poor quality of building materials such as iron bars

Mr Mustapha Kasadha, a resident, said most contractors had opted to carry out construction without testing due to long distances to Kampala.

"Testing is essential to ensure that the materials used during construction meet all necessary quality benchmarks and keep the structure in line with engineering requirements; but most contractors have been ignoring it, hence causing the collapse of buildings," he said.

The construction, which started in February, is expected to be completed in May 2021, after installation of all necessary material-testing machines.

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