A week ago we showed a video of a Partners in Health project in Haiti. They are building a new hospital in Mirebalais. We suggested that they might want to think twice about showing images of mixing cement on the ground using shovels. We asked them to display leadership in changing the way that concrete is produced in Haiti.
Well, as it turns out, they have been taking a leadership role and demonstrating good concrete construction practices all along. They are proving that modern technology and good engineering can be accomplished, even in Haiti… Now it is time for all NGO’s in Haiti to look to the leadership of PiH and make concrete quality control a priority as well.
First we are proud to display some images of their concrete work from the hospital, and second we are sorry that we ever doubted that Partners in Health would not step-out and lead. You all should go to their February update page and see how things are progressing.
The first image from Mirebalais demonstrates two important improvements. First the steel looks well engineered, tied and structured. Second, there is a transit mix truck delivering the concrete to the site. For most large projects the concrete from a ready-mix plant will have the best chance of being delivered at the appropriate strength specification. The central batching plant measures all the material to increase the quality of the final product that comes from the truck.
The next image is proof that PiH is taking an important step in concrete quality control. You will see an engineer marking a test cylinder full of concrete. These cylinders are filled with samples of wet concrete that has been delivered to the job site. These testing samples will be delivered to a laboratory that will confirm that the trucks delivered the appropriate strength of concrete. This action demonstrates that Partners in Health is serious about building a structure that will be sustainable.
Similar test conducted by the engineers from Georgia Tech have proven that mixing concrete on the ground using shovels does not produce an acceptable concrete mixture.
The final image demonstrates that Partners in Health is serious about construction quality on this hospital. You can see that there is a small contractor-style mixer available for smaller projects around the job site. These small barrel mixers are a common sight on US construction projects, but a rare sighting in Haiti.
The challenge with any human-loaded mixer is to see that the correct measurement of the raw materials and water are going into the drum. Good batching oversight is critical in insure appropriate concrete strengths. We would assume that the engineers at Mirebalais have developed a good measurement protocol for the workers who are loading these small concrete mixers.
Regardless, we salute PiH for their leadership in concrete quality control, demonstrated by these images. We join with Partners in Health in challenging others in Haiti to follow their lead…