Concrete slabs support much of the BBBC Expo in Haiti

The Haiti Expo demonstrates why concrete supplies are critical

BBBC homes with concrete foundations in HaitiThe Build Back Better Communities Expo for Haiti has drawn a great deal of attention from international development groups and government officials.

CementTrust has been following the progress of this event and we have been anxious to see what is being presented. Because of our interest in concrete, we are naturally drawn to anything that looks like it might be a cement-based building material.

It appears that concrete will be a major contributor to the success of Haiti’s reconstruction efforts, if this EXPO is any indication. Most of the unique home designs are using concrete for a foundation material and the more traditional homes are using a great deal of concrete for blocks, plaster or stucco.

Because there is so much cement-based product being used at this demonstration event, our concerns with Haiti’s concrete supply system are growing. If they don’t improve the quality of concrete production then the rebuilding efforts will not be sustainable and the concept of building back better will fail.

They are still using shovels on the ground in Haiti's BBBC Expo

Picture: "TC" from Hillsboro Oregon

This photo was taken by “TC” of Oregon at the BBBC expo site, where an American contractor was using local Haitian labor to mix concrete on the open ground. TC suggested in frustration that, “nothing has changed.. nor will it ever change.”

Though it is sad to witness Haitians still mixing concrete on the ground, we are encouraged by the reports that most of the concrete provided for the BBBC Expo came from more modern ready-mix equipment.

We hope that the publicity and outcry concerning concrete quality is beginning to make a difference in the way Haiti thinks of building back better. Solid foundations and better quality cement-based materials will make the recovery of Haiti much more sustainable.

We are happy that the BBBC event is showcasing concrete as the construction material of choice for Haiti’s foundations. We pledge our efforts to seeing that there is less mixing on the ground…

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About cementtrust

I am a director with Cement Trust and passionate about improving cement-based production in the poorest nations of the world.
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4 Responses to Concrete slabs support much of the BBBC Expo in Haiti

  1. Steve says:

    You should note that although a good quality ready mix concrete was used for the slab on grades at the BBBC expo site, there was no anchor bolts or ties downs of any nature pre-installed in the formwork or set in place at the time of the pouring of the concrete.

  2. cementtrust says:

    Steve,
    We thank you for the additional information concerning the anchoring issues. There are many things needed to make the Haiti construction practices better. Maybe the BBBC should have provided building inspectors for each of the structures…

    I am not an engineer, but my building experienced has taught me that a great foundation does little good when the building is not connected securely to the concrete. Many of these issues can be solved with proper training and dedicated oversight.

    We will keep the focus on building a better concrete supply chain, including these items…

    Bruce

  3. Tim Myers says:

    Thanks for your update. I visited the site a little over a week ago and was not able to see any of the foundation slabs going in. I am also concerned not only with the lack of quality control in concrete and cmu structures. My other concern is that many of the structures were of imported materials, designs and techniques that will be foreign to Haitian Craftsmen. Please help them build with what is at hand. Cement is manufactured in Haiti. Concrete Block (CMU) is manufactured there although the quality is suspect this can be improved.

    Keep up the good work cement trust.

    • cementtrust says:

      Tim,
      Thank you for your on-the-ground reporting from Haiti.
      Quality control issues are problematic up and down the construction supply chain in Haiti.
      We agree that helping them to improve their skills and then raising the quality of materials that they can get locally will yield better results in a shorter period of time.

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