By Kingsley Adegboye
Against the backdrop of the unending incidents of building collapse in Nigeria, a new concrete block making technology called “CONCRETE MD” has been introduced to Nigerian market as a measure to check the situation.
The technology which automatically mixes concrete and results in accurate measurement of materials, is being introduced to Nigeria and Africa for the first time by Growth and Employment in States, GEMS 2; a UK aid funded agency intervention in the construction and real estate sector in Nigeria.
CONCRETE MD; manufactured by Cart-Away Concrete Systems, an American corporation is a mobile self-sustained machine that uses fuel, automated mixture barrel, measurement dashboard and other components which reduce human variation to a large extent thereby providing better assurance of accuracy, consistency and quality output.
The features contained in the machine enable it to be moved from site to site conveniently. It does not depend on PHCN but more importantly, it is believed that it will alleviate considerably, the problem of frequent building collapse in Nigeria.
According to Mr. Ronald Ashkin, Technical Director, GEMS 2 who are the promoters of the new technology, concrete blocks made with CONCRETE MD are much, more stronger than what is being produced at the moment, adding that the introduction of this machine into the Nigerian market is in fulfillment to GEMS 2’s primary mandate which is to improve the construction sector through income growth and overall empowerment of workers and artisans.
Ashkin who noted that since the arrival of the machine, GEMS 2 has launched nationwide demonstration and training sessions to showcase the efficacy of the machine to key stakeholders, said the training session kicked off in Abuja last week and attracted essentially businesses in the construction sector. He stated that the high point of the event was when concrete block made from the MD CONCRETE machine was placed side by side the one made with the local mixer, pointing out that the difference was glaring to all.
“Some participants at the Lagos training were concerned about the probable cost of the machine”, noted Ashkin who moderated the Lagos training session. He noted that “the role of GEMS 2 is to introduce innovation that will ultimately result in growth and sustainable solution to the sector”.
On the cost of the machine, he asserted that the cost will definitely be determined by market forces, emphasizing that “what is important now is to determine acceptability and value of the solution. “Once those have been established, I am confident that market forces will take care of cost issues. Attention should be focused on the big picture which is the fact that stronger concrete blocks will result in stronger building construction”, he said.
GEMS 2 Technical director further noted that his organization has been investing in research and improvements which have the capacity to evolve innovations, build local capacity, grow income and empower labour in this case, the artisan.
According to him, “putting these goals side by side the current challenges in construction in Nigeria from the input supply perspective, GEMS 2 has so far sponsored studies that will assist in market uptake of bricks in the country while strengthening the use of concrete blocks as well”.