Nigerian Society of Engineers debunks calls to ban 32.5 Grade cement

NSE

The Nigerian Society of Engineers has dispelled stories that the grade of cement used in building projects was the cause of building collapse in Nigeria.

In a press briefing in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the NSE president Ademola Olorunfemi explained that various grades of cement were used for different functions in building process and stressed the need for the public to understand their usage.

He also urged builders to use appropriate building materials adequately.

Olorunfemi said “in recent times, a barrage of articles have appeared on the media regarding the issue of cement grades and their contribution to the collapse of buildings in Nigeria.

“The most interesting aspect of the debates is that most of the commentators are not Engineers hence the need to clarify the subject matter.”

Olorunfemi explained the various grades of cement and their usage.

“There are three grades or cement strength classes namely; Grade 32.5, Grade 42.5 and 52.5 based on the minimum 28-day mortar prime strength. This means the minimum compressive strength of cement mortar on the 28th day after pouring correspondents to the cement.

He added that hence, 42.5 Grade cement will have a minimum compressive strength of 42.5kg/cm2 at 28 days, while 52.5 Grade cement will have a minimum compressive strength of 52.5kg at 28 days and 32.5 Grade cement has compressive strength of 32.5kg at 28 days.

The Nigerian Society of Engineers stressed that the grade of cement corresponds to the minimum compressive strength of cement mortar at 28 days and not the strength of concrete at 28 days.

Different roles

The President of NSE went further to explain the usage of each grades of cement and their roles in construction.

“Each cement type or grade has a specific role to play therefore; its use depends upon the nature of the work, method of construction, local environmental conditions among others.

“Grade 32.5 cement is suitable for general paving and mass concreting, including sundry masonry works such as plastering/rendering, block moulding/setting and other light concrete works.”

He said this grade of cement would meet the structural requirements of small scale construction.

Olorunfemi added that Grade 42.5 cement was suitable for residential, commercial and industrial structures, including heavy concrete works such as; heavy retaining walls, large piers and abutments, flyovers, dams/marine constructions.

“Grade 52.5 Cement is used for projects where very high level strength is needed for example, the construction of skyscrapers, bridges and other heavy load bearing structures,” he added.

Mr Olorunfemi attributed the causes of building collapse to “inappropriate application of cement in the production of concrete and not the choice of cement grade.”

He added that it was misleading to assert that cement grade was a prime cause of building collapse in Nigeria adding that building collapse is also caused by design flaws, ageing, extreme operational and environmental conditions, accidents, terrorist attacks and natural hazards.

The NSE urged Nigerians to always engage building professionals before embarking on any construction to avoid future mishap.

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