Ministry urges traders and consumers to ensure cement quality
December 7, 2019 | 5:09 PM
by Times News Service
Photo: Supplied

Muscat: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has urged traders and consumers of cement to choose types which are appropriate for each construction work they are undertaking. The Directorate General of Standards and Metrology undertakes several procedures which are followed to examine cement. It has encouraged traders and consumers to identify the mechanisms to know that the cement products conform to the standard specifications to avoid any danger caused by misuse.

Engineer Hamoud bin Aish Al Harthy, head of physical and construction material laboratory in the department of laboratories of the Directorate General of Standards and Metrology, said: The cement is divided into several types, including ordinary Portland cement (OPC), which is used in general concrete construction for which it is not necessary to meet special requirements such as resistance to salts and sulfates, and Limestone cement which is used same as ordinary Portland cement, including for concrete constructions. But the limestone cement’s defect is that it retains moisture, which negatively affects the concrete cohesion and leads to corrosion of the reinforcing steel. Also, there is another type of cement called Salt Resistant Cement (SRC) which also has various types.

He said: The following explanatory information should be written on cement packages in Arabic. It should tell the type of Portland cement, standard number, the weight of the package in international standard units, name of the product or its trademark, country of origin and date of production. For cement exported in containers, a certificate of information is attached to each container with all mentioned details.

Engineer Nada bint Salem Al Omairi, a quality control specialist, says that building materials products which conform with the standard specifications are directly linked with the trader, either he is importing from outside the Sultanate or from a factor from within the Sultanate and presents his product in the local market. We follow a procedure to verify if the product conform with the Omani standard specifications number 7/2001, which is made mandatory by the decision number 144/2001.

About how the consumer can identify which cement is for which use, Engineer Nada Al Omairi said: The most popular type of cement in the Omani market is the regular Portland cement (OPC), SRC and limestone cement.

She added: There are many types of cement. But these three types are widely used. The consumer can distinguish these types through the explanatory data on the cement bag and learn about its uses.

The consumers get misleading because there are many types of cement made available in the market. The importer writes the minimum average compression resistance on the cement bag in bold letters 42.5 Newton per square millimetre. Therefore, the consumer has to ascertain the type of cement to use it correctly. There is no specific way to ensure that the product conforms to the standard specifications other than their physical and chemical examination, whether in the Ministry's laboratories or private laboratories registered with it.

Najla bint Salem Al Akhzamy, a technician at the General Chemistry Laboratory of the Laboratories Department of the Directorate General of Standards and Metrology of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said: Our mission in the laboratory is to carry out chemical tests according to the specification of the product. We do examinations of additives and oxides in the sample and also test rate of loss in burning. We also examine Sulfates, percentage of insoluble materials in cement and percentage of silica. All this we do through the standards available with us to learn if the product is according to them or not. We also test their increase or decrease that how effecting the product.

Najla Al Akhzamy said: It takes a week for the chemical examination in the laboratory. Only after that, the report will be complete.

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