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Ban on twisted rebars and construction of masonry walls

Construction process should be followed to the letter to ensure that everything goes on according to plan and avoiding incidences of collapse due to ignorance or alternative cost-cutting methods that some end up being fatal for the users of the structures be it roads or buildings.

These new methods of construction should be researched on completely and should be well tested by imposing all sorts of possible loads, dead loads which is the weight of the structure itself, live loads which are loads resulting from objects imposed such as human beings and furniture as well as environmental loads which include earthquake loads and wind loads. This should be conducted by a well versed body of consultants approved by a government or any other authoritative body to conduct such researches.

It has become a norm in Kenya, especially in the rural areas, where a building is to be framed (constructed with columns and beams and also the slabs) people tend to start erecting the walls, called the infill masonry which is part of the dead loads, first before the frame which should be the case, and leaving ample space to put up the columns.

This is because the frame, the columns and beams, is the structural elements of the building and even if the wall was to be demolished the structure would still stand because the frame is the load bearing elements of the buildings. Buildings which are framed and also rely on walls as load bearing, called the confined masonry, to support the structure are called wall bearing structures and are mostly used in residential construction. In such structures, both the frame and the walls are built together.

There is also, although a matter that is being eradicated in Kenya, the use of twisted steel bars as rebars (reinforcement bars) in concrete structures that have been banned in Kenya. The bars commonly known as ‘Y8, Y10 and the likes’ have been banned as they have been related to poor tensile strength as compared to deformed/ribbed bars that are the preferred.

In the East African region, Kenya was the only country which still manufactured the bars up until the ban. This may be attributed to the fact that many people may lose the jobs of twisted bars in the process but it is a necessary evil for the greater good of saving lives.

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