Some contractors are using “cheaper” building materials to cut down the high cost of projects in the country, the Engineering Council, Ghana has observed.
The Council said it cannot establish that the use of inferior building materials was the cause of the recent collapse of buildings under construction but acknowledged that some builders had been resorting to cheaper materials which might undermine the quality of work.
In an interview with Journalists, Mr Wise Ametefe, Registrar, of the Engineering Council, said the use of inferior materials was a major concern for the industry and blamed the situation on the high cost of building materials.
“Some of the materials they use are inferior and that might boil down to the cost of the material. But you cannot sacrifice your life because of cost. Whether expensive or not, we encourage builders to go for the best quality,” he said.
Prices of building materials shot up significantly in the middle of last year, with industry players attributing the rise to the depreciation of the Cedi against the dollar, high import duties and high cost of production for local manufacturers.
Checks conducted on the market indicate that cement is now trading at an average of GHS 80 per bag. By the end of 2022, the price of a bag of cement shot up to about GHS96 per bag, representing about a 40 per cent rise compared to the beginning of 2022.
A tonne of iron rods is now selling between GHS 7,500 to GHS8, 000. At the beginning of 2022, it was selling at about GHS5,400 per tonne.
In the last three months, the country has recorded at least five reported cases of collapsed-storey buildings under construction, some of which led to the loss of lives.
Four of the cases, three of which occurred in the Greater Accra Region and the other in the Northern Region, occurred within a space of two weeks in May this year.
A team of investigators deployed to the sites are yet to conclude their investigations to establish the actual cause of the disasters.
Just last week, another one-storey building under construction collapsed at Amanfrom Assemblies, a suburb of Amanfrom in the Ga South Municipality, killing two people and injuring three others.
Mr Ametefe said a team of investigators were deployed to the site on Monday to conduct preliminary investigations.
He appealed to the public to seek the services of professionals and ensure that they sourced high-quality materials for their projects to avert disaster.