Squeezing the Truth out of Concrete Block Helps Grow Trust

Build Change is using compression testing to help Haitian block producers

In a world full of unusual records, I think that Haiti must hold the top spot for the most concrete block rubble within a country.  CementTrust and Build Change are both working to change these statistics in the future.

The sad fact is that the crushing destruction from Haiti’s quake is much more serious than breaking blocks while holding an egg (see story of image below).

In many developing nations poverty sets up a situation where block manufacturers cut corners in the creation of their product.

When the quality of a concrete block is poor, then people suffer during a disaster.  It is very important that quality control procedures are a part of the construction supply system in order to reduce these risks.

Producing good block requires properly graded materials, a good cement recipe, proper mixing and adequate curing steps.

Reliable concrete block production relies on a functioning supply chain to deliver the right raw materials, the dependable equipment and the necessary quality control.  Testing is an additional layer of insurance that provides trust for local builders. Without this important part of the supply system in place, the poor will continue to live with the pain and suffering that comes when block buildings come crashing down.

CementTrust is  joining with several other organizations in an effort to put some trust back into block and masonry construction projects in the poorest regions of the world.

In a new initiative, Build Change is putting a simple compression tester on a truck so Haitian workers can check block strength right at the construction site. These testing units will allow a level of quality control that is not currently available to builders within the country. They are demonstrating that material testing is an important link in a functioning concrete supply chain.  This effort suggests that appropriately scaled technology is as critical to improving the quality of construction in Haiti as the current masonry skills training being shared by many organizations.

There are several opportunities to improve the quality of cement-based building in these developing nations. We commend Build Change for taking on the issues of block quality in Haiti.

What portion of the supply chain are you willing to assist with?

Image Story: World Record for the most concrete blocks broken while holding a raw egg was by Joe Alexander, of Germany. He broke 24 concrete blocks, assembled in three stacks of 8 while holding a raw egg in the hand of the arm used for breaking the blocks. After his third stack the egg remained unbroken.

Bruce Christensen is the author at CementTrust


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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3 Responses to Squeezing the Truth out of Concrete Block Helps Grow Trust

  1. Great article. We at Mobilize for Haiti would like to be on the ground providing means for Haitians to build back better with High quality CMU’s. These blocks will need to be examined through quality standards such as the one by Build Change team #Haiti . Awesome!

  2. Kushan says:

    this is ridiculous. you should be looking for options which are more sustainable. cement based products are no longer the solution.

  3. cementtrust says:

    Thank you for your response. I agree that there may be other solutions for making block, but the fact is that cement based products do produce most of the world’s infrastructure. We can continue to allow poor methods to put people at risk, or we can do something to raise the bar. We welcome your input on a more sustainable replacement to cement.
    The question that we each must ask is how much are we willing to do and how much is just talk?

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