Cheating rampant in construction business
By Joe Avancena
DAMMAM – Local homeowners and proprietors of commercial and office buildings incur millions of riyals in losses due to substandard roofing materials used in the construction of their buildings, according to an industry group promoting the better use of building materials.
Owners of houses and buildings are often cheated by building contractors who use substandard roofing and waterproofing materials in the construction in order to cut costs, but in the process reduce the effective life cycle of the buildings, according to Syed Abdallah Rizvi, president of the Bitumat International Roofing Academy (BIRA), an industry organization that conducts educational campaigns, seminars, and round table meetings for business and industry leaders.
“It has been seen that in this country either the consultant or the contractor sacrifices quality for nominal savings in prices, thereby shortening the life cycle of buildings to the disadvantage of owners,” Rizvi said. He said the cost of repairing buildings as a result of substandard building materials runs into millions of riyals.
He said such cheating is often done by short-term contractors and consultants who leave the country after completing their construction work.
Rizvi said educating citizens, homeowners, local contractors, engineers and architects about the honest use of roofing materials is the best safeguard against the rampant cheating in the use of substandard and unspecified building materials.
“There are standards to be followed in the application of building materials, such as those of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), an international standards organization that develops consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services, and the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) of America, which provides guidelines and serves customers in every aspect of the roofing industry,” Rizvi said.
“Building consultants and contractors worthy of their profession must apply the ASTM and NRCA standards and not cut corners by reducing the cost by using substandard materials.”
The president of BIRA said building materials standards are also provided by the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO). “Contractors, builders and consultants know that standards exist, but opt to ignore these standards for profit,” he said.
As an organization advocating the proper use of roofing and waterproofing materials, BIRA conducts year-round seminars across the Kingdom, in the Gulf region, and in foreign countries.
“The academy has provided training in the correct and internationally-accepted use and application of roofing and waterproofing technology for many industry leaders from the Middle East and North America, Asia, and North and South America,” Rizvi said.