Gov’t clamps down on inferior building materials

There has been an influx of building materials into Dominica after Maria

The government will be clamping down on inferior building materials imported into Dominica following the passage of Hurricane Maria.

In the interim galvanize, lumber, screws, nails and hurricane ties will be placed under the microscope.

Director of Trade Mathan Walter said only 24-gauge, minimum, galvanize will be allowed into Dominica.

Speaking on state-owned DBS Radio’s Talking Point earlier this week, he explained how the system works.

“Customs has a program that they use called Asycuda World and there is a Memorandum of Understanding between the Customs authorities and the Bureau of Standards,” he said, adding that using certain codes the Bureau of Standards will subject the materials mentioned to “a certain treatment.”

“Those goods will be red flagged,” he said. “In order words, any time you bring in lumber, you bring in galvanize, you bring in screws, nails, hurricane ties, they are immediately flagged by Customs and they are only released upon the advice of the Bureau of Standards.”

Walter said that the government will also deal with inferior building materials brought into the country before the hurricane and before the sensitization of the island’s building codes.

“Now obviously, you would know that that there would have been building materials brought into the country even prior to the sensitization in relation to the new building code. There has been importation of those particular products in the country, that is a fact, we have to find a way to deal with them, that is a fact,” he stated.

Walter explained that ways will be found to deal with the material in a climate resilient way.

“We have been having these discussions, for example, with Engineers Without Borders as it relates to dealing with those matters,” he stated. “But what we are ensuring in Dominica is that for those four or so items that I indicated to you, that from the effective date any imports of those items into the Commonwealth of Dominica will be met with certification of their authenticity by the Bureau of Standards.”

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  1. prophet for a profit
    March 12, 2018

    I myself looking into building a hobbit house.

  2. Waypapa
    March 12, 2018

    I have come to realize that some people do not understand what they read.Just because some thing comes from the govt it has to be opposed!!

  3. Anonymous
    March 12, 2018

    apart from this, there should be greater construction inspections along with better application of the code, also the code should be a lot more elaborate… employ more architects and engineers as planning officers.

  4. Tony
    March 11, 2018

    Hello and good afternoon my people. Well our Government should have been monitoring the quality of materials that was coming into the country because if people used inferior materials then how can we build back properly. I sent four heavy duty tarps to cover my parents house which has a four year outdoor use regardless of rain or sun. I just need to know That either 22 or 24 gauge galvanize is available so I can come down and fix my parent home.

    • NegMawon
      March 12, 2018

      I am a builder, My father is a builder and I am here simply to advise about the misconceptions concerning Galvanize. First of all let me say that any country that is regularly battered by storms and Hurricanes should never allow 24 gauge Galvanize to be imported. (For sheet metal, a retrogressive scale (higher numbers mean lower thickness) that starts with 10 gauge representing a thickness of 3.416 millimeters or 0.1345 inches. As the gauge number increases, the thickness drops by 10 percent.) Not only you need to worry about the thickness of your galvanize but the depth and distance between the corrugation is just as important. the deeper and closer your corrugation the stronger your panels will be. That said a 24 Gauge panel depending on the corrugation will sustain 124 pounds (the weight of a young woman) A 20 Gauge panel will sustain 178 pounds which is in the range of a working roof man. People please spend your dollars wisely and remember higher number=thinner lower=Better.

      • Roger Burnett
        March 13, 2018

        Thank you NegMawon. You have raised a very valid and important point regarding the depth and distance between corrugations. The WW1 and WW2 Nissan Huts went one better by making sheets semicircular. An egg derives its strength from its shape and not the thickness of its shell.

        These posts indicate that a lot more thought needs to going into what is good practice in terms of galvanized roofing.

  5. Annon
    March 11, 2018

    Moot point. Some of these people always find a way to make it seem like they’re doing something. They only found that the thinner 26 gauge can break at the nails or screws in high wind, but so can the 24 gauge. It’s only a bit stronger and that they the making a big deal of. That should simply be a side note. Just phase out 24 and 26 galvanize in favor of other roofing materials, so eventually we will only have the harder type.

  6. Roger Burnett
    March 11, 2018

    Specifying the thickness of steel by wire gauge can be very confusing.

    In essence the lower the gauge number the greater the dimension. However, there is a difference between the British Standard Wire Gauge and the United States Steel Wire Gauge. There are also at least two other gauges still in use. All are fractionally different.

    To avoid confusion, the exact decimal dimension is increasingly becoming the norm.

    Sheet metal manufacturers do not work to wire gauge numbers but to weight. This they then specify in gage (sic) numbers! In addition, there are specific tolerances for galvanized sheet steel.

    But as other commentators have correctly stated, thickness isn’t the only criterion. On my workbench I have two samples of 24 gauge (0.021″) galvanized steel, both purchased in Dominica. The samples display different characteristics in terms of their mechanical properties: strength, malleability, etc. There is also a difference in their protective coating.

  7. Terrell
    March 10, 2018

    Myopic… Thicker is better for decking or commercial applications. Where do they get these decision makers..

  8. Dominican
    March 10, 2018

    M&J Covering of One Mile, Portsmouth are offering 22-and 23 gauge roofing on this very site. Is the government saying that these people selli inferior material? What are they supposed to do with their stock?

    • Annon
      March 11, 2018

      22 and 23 are stronger than the 24 & 26 they talking about. Get it? :lol:

  9. ManiCou
    March 10, 2018

    Thank you, I keep reiterating that there are some of us in Dominica with the technical skills needed to rebuild Dominica. The problem is the boo zoos in charge of running things.

  10. Roger Burnett
    March 10, 2018

    I can think of disadvantages, but can someone tell me the advantages (other than hiding the galvanized from view when seen from within) of placing plywood over the top of rafters, as is the common practice?

    • winston warrington
      March 11, 2018

      There are several. 1) Reducing heat transmission from galvanize roofing.. 2) Dampening noise emission during heavy heavy rainfall. 3)Structural transfer of rafter loads through diaphragm action to the walls of the structure during wind and seismic loading and 4) 5/8” ply should enhance the fire rating of the structure.

      • Roger Burnett
        March 12, 2018

        Thank you Winston. Your points are well taken.

        However, the traditional “tray ceiling” that was placed under the rafters also acted as a heat and noise barrier. It also enabled visual inspection, by way of a trap door, and the ceiling’s tie beam gave the roof additional strength.

        In all my years I have never yet come across a galvanized roof that didn’t eventually leak at one or more of the fastenings. With plywood placed above the rafters a leak is difficult to trace and water is trapped along the length of the purlin. The usual remedy is to bang down all the fastenings and this only makes matters worse.

    • Citizen Kane
      March 12, 2018

      I have been thinking the same.

  11. Shameless
    March 9, 2018

    Gov’t clamps down on inferior building materials…. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    Great idea but the government does not have a clue what they talking about. We are talking about two different metals (steel and zinc) coming together through a process known as galvanizing. Government must first issue product specifications that make sense, and then enforce the specifications by appointing experienced, qualified inspectors at the various construction projects (random inspections). Customs or Bereau of Standards cannot prevent anyone from bring in any gauge galvanize because they do not know the “intended” use. For that to happen, legislation must be passed in parliament. How much more idiotic can this DLP regime be? SMMFH :twisted:

    Assertive like hurricane Melissa!

  12. block 44
    March 9, 2018

    the goverment should start by saying that all the chinesse white plastic used all over dominica that caused people death during maria,shall be demoulished and rebuild from solid 3000 psi concrete.then docter dimples i will know you mean cant put solid roofs on plastic walls.

    • Original Mahaut Man
      March 10, 2018

      That was then this is now.You can’t make the same mistake twice.Wake up.

  13. My bad
    March 9, 2018

    Just talk for the record. Who bringing in those inferior building materials if not their own boys? The big names of importers are Astaphan, Nassief, M& R, Rudoulph Thomas, The Chinese windows company etc and tell me what they all have in common. So DNO’s subject for this article is very misleading

    • Neville
      March 11, 2018

      Exactly!! But these people can do what they want in exchange for turning a blind eye to Skerrits corruption and incompetence.

  14. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    March 9, 2018

    In the interim galvanize, lumber, screws, nails and hurricane ties will be placed under the microscope. All well and good, the only may is the galvanize gauge, but although the thickness can meet the standard still does not prove the quality is good.

    What about the lumber 1×4; 2 x 6 wider, longer and thicker, all lumber how are you gong to determine what is inferior or not; when all you see is wood, nails are mold to withstand a certain amount of pressure, in weight; where it pertains to screws we are talking about torque in pounds pressure.

    Does the government have a scientific laboratory to test galvanize nails & wood to see if they meat the standards.  It is all a whole pile of shooting off baloney! Unless they imported from China, or Cuba we don’t know what we are getting, but I know When such products are manufactured in America, Canada, England and the rest of Europe they go through very strict QC (Control Control) before they are  passed and authorize for sale! 

  15. Roger Burnett
    March 9, 2018

    “…anytime you bring in lumber…galvanise…screws…nails…hurricane ties…they will only be released on advice of the Bureau of Standards.”

    All well and good if the Bureau of Standards has the practical knowledge to judge these items. And that, with due respect, I very much doubt.

    These days the quality of a metal is influenced by its scrap content. Even the cylinder head on your vehicle contains recycled beer cans! Most of our imported timber is inferior to what was available fifty years ago and heavy hot-dipped galvanizing is a thing of the past.

    As soon as you drill, punch a hole or cut a sheet of galvanized metal, no matter what gauge, you invite corrosion. The the same applies to a galvanized fastening when in contact with treated timber.

    At the end of the day, the quality of design and workmanship is the key factor.

    • zandoli
      March 9, 2018

      Roger there are two ways of making steel – from iron ore or recycled metal (scrap). The end result is the same depending on what is added to the the melt and how it is made. Steel made from iron ore is not superior to that which is made from scrap metal.

      For the roofing material, I would recommend a pre-painted steel as opposed to unpainted galvanized roofing sheets. The pre-painted steel has zinc phosphate chemical treatment that will retard edge rust. So unless the roof is installed in a very corrosive environment (like the east coast, within 1500 feet from the ocean, it will hold up quite well.

      I would be happy to provide free consultation to the government of they need information on metals and coating. I have been in the business for more than 3 decades.

      • Roger Burnett
        March 12, 2018

        Thank you for your response Zandoli. I hope the government takes you up on your offer of free consultation, especially in terms of your pre-painted steel recommendation.

        In terms of the quality of steel and other metals, I find that there is now an unevenness that was not apparent sixty years ago. For example, sometimes when machining a one inch diameter mild steel shaft, I find that the cutting tool reacts differently at various points along its length. I find the same when machining aluminium. Could this perhaps be due to the various alloys that are now added, especially in automobile manufacture, all of which goes into the recycled mix?

      • zandoli
        March 12, 2018

        The metal you are using may be age hardening. If that happens unevenly, you could get it behaving differently in different areas of the piece of metal.

      March 10, 2018

      Better stated without criticism to the people actually trying to make things right… to achieve the goals of safer and superior building materials, the builders, carpenters and skilled labour also have to follow proper building standards and codes.

  16. anonymous2
    March 9, 2018

    The gage of the galvanized is not the main factor although heavier gage is more heavy duty. It has to be screwed to 5/8 inch plywood and then attached to rafters or truss’. That is where the expense comes in. Just nailing galvanized to a rafter board is virtually worthless in a hurricane. Then that roofing has to be firmly attached to the walls of the structure either via hurricane ties or steel rods. It is no wonder that the housing is in such a deplorable state when the govt. doesn’t even understand what it takes to build a solid structure and instead concentrates on the flimsiest piece of the structure.

  17. Maria
    March 9, 2018

    It would be good if the government authorities would take some time off to plan, consult and then execute.
    So Contractors are forced to purchase 24 gauge galvanize for hoarding a construction project? Various grades of building materials are produced for a range of uses, for example a chicken coup does not require residential gauge covering.
    It would be better to educate the population on the correct type of materials instead of trying to ban products in a free market economy.
    Also, to ban materials and not improve on the skills and knowledge of the construction workers is almost a futile exercise because some of the illiterate builders make a mess with good quality materials whereas the more educated ones can do a good job with the inferior material.
    The government officials themselves need a good dose of education because this is not the way things are done. When government ban the cheaper material they’ll lower the taxes to make the good one affordable?

  18. dee
    March 9, 2018

    I am so confused .
    Are those people who ventured out there to Guadeloupe and Martinique , even A/gua and bought 22 guage supposed to uncover their house again ?
    ” we have to find a way to deal with them , that is a fact ”
    Are you Mr Walter, referring to the importing merchants, or to those who sought their materials in desperation before the next hurricane season around the corner?
    I am only asking a question .

    • winston warrington
      March 9, 2018

      You are correct to ask, people should be informed that 22ga steel is superior to 25 ga steel. Nevertheless depending on the point of origin the manufacturer’s label might indicate a bogus quality ; so the appropriate markings should be recognized.

    • zandoli
      March 9, 2018

      22 Gauge steel is thicker than 25 gauge. For the same mechanical strength, of course thicker is better, but when one is considering what metal to use, you have to consider BOTH gauge and mechanical properties of the metal being employed for the job.

    • Sacregas
      March 10, 2018

      Hello!! 22gauge is thicker than 24g.So what is your point.A limit was not set it has to be 24 or lower.Are you just writing to criticise?Get educated jeeze man.

      • dee
        March 12, 2018

        Am i just writing to criticize(find fault with) (not criticise). get educated jeeze man .
        I am going to dignify you with a response ,
        Read this and understand ”Director of trade, Martin Walter said ; only 24 gauge (minimum)galvanize will be allowed into Dominica .
        I was concerned about that statement, reasons why I asked , what is to happen to those desperate persons who ventured out there and purchased other gauge, .let me now clarify or rather specify , whatever other gauge is available , purchased or gifted to me , would that not be allowed into my Country ?
        Who then is that minister, to tell me with what gauge i should cover my fowl coup with or my overnight goat house ? You or the minister is going to stipulate what gauge i should use, if that is what was available to me for purchase for the purpose of covering in the event of emergency ,to avoid rain damage to my own property . Now you should rethink your advice of getting educated .

    • Original Mahaut Man
      March 10, 2018

      The 22 gauge is better than the 24 gauge so who said that 22gauge is not good. The 22 gauge is a thicker gauge than the 24 gauge so listen to the authorities before running your mouth.

  19. prophet for a profit
    March 9, 2018

    i want 22 gauge

  20. zandoli
    March 9, 2018

    The intention is good, but looking only at the thickness of the material coming does not really say anything.
    They also need to look at the mechanical properties of the metal for the specification to be meaningful. I can give you thicker but softer metal and it will be inferior to a thinner but stronger piece of metal.

    For example, if a merchant bring in a lower gauge at a higher yield strength that will also work just as well as a thicker piece of steel. I know because in the automotive industry, we routinely supply ultra high strength steel at much lower gauges than conventional steel and it works just as well, but at a lower weight per unit area.

    When you are dealing with metals, thickness is not the only consideration.

    • Director
      March 9, 2018

      Comrade, we have given thought to this and appreciate your intellectual input. The importers have been provided with specifications for all the materials indicated in this story.

      • vrai den
        March 10, 2018

        Hi Mr. Director, Is there info available to home owners who would take the option of going to buy their materials themselves overseas.

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