The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has approved four standards for steel and steel products. The standards will facilitate manufacturing and trade in quality steel products as well as ensure consumer safety. The steel industry is critical to the Kenyan economy as it is the material of choice for many elements of manufacturing, construction and transportation.
These standards are harmonized East African Standards for Steel and Steel products. The products covered by the four standards are traded in large quantities within the East African Community and they are meant to support intra-trade within the region.
The users and implementers of these standards range from Importers, Manufacturers, Motor Vehicle Assemblers, Inspection bodies and the Regulators in the manufacturing industry.
The approved standards range from Steel Wire and Steel Wire Products for fencing — Specification to High-Strength Low-Alloy (HSLA) steel for hot rolled sheet to Cold rolled sheet — Specification. The other two standards are Hot-dip aluminium-zinc coated plain and corrugated steel sheets — Specification and Stainless steel storage tanks ― Specification.
The Hot-dip Aluminium-zinc coated plain and corrugated steel sheets — Specification outlines requirements, sampling and test methods for continuous hot-dip aluminium-zinc (AZ) coated plain and corrugated steel sheets for roofing, cladding, fencing, fabrication and general use. The standard will ensure that the measurement of base metal thickness in pre painted roofing sheets is effectively evaluated. The products that meet this standard will appropriately be used for applications where the corrosion characteristics of aluminium coupled with those of zinc are most desired.
According to Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director KEBS, these standards are as a result of systematic review of EAC standards developed by EAC TC 035 Steel and Steel products.
“Chalking and fading coatings on steel roofing and cladding may seem harmless, but it is the start of a bigger problem, if left unchecked and this standard will be critical in evaluating the sheets before being offered for sale,” said Njiraini.
Growth of real estate sector coupled with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy on infrastructure projects, ranging from roads and the affordable housing plan have hugely buoyed the local steel industry.
Data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that the quantities of steel sunk into housing and infrastructure have been on a continued rise over the years to 1,417.18 thousand tonnes in the nine months to September 2021, a 24.5 percent increase from 1,138.24 thousand tonnes in the same period in 2016.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is keen to ensure steel products meet set standards to safeguard the consumer.