“We can’t make enough blocks; we’re always running out of stock,” Factory Manager of Gafsons Industries Limited Bharath Rampersad said, as he explained that Certification of the company’s four-inch concrete hollow blocks has led to increased customer confidence followed by an overwhelming demand for the product.
Gafsons Industries Limited was established over 15 years ago. It is one of the largest manufacturers of quality hardware items and heavy construction materials in Guyana.
In 2018, the company decided to pursue Certification of its four-inch concrete hollow blocks to the Guyana Standard GYS 215:2003 Specification for Load Bearing Masonry Concrete Units (Reapproved 2018). Factory Manager of Gafsons Industries Limited Bharath Rampersad said this move was influenced by the company’s drive to ensure customer satisfaction and to be the best in the business.
With some concrete hollow blocks on the local market failing to meet the required strength for largescale construction, Mr. Rampersad said the company also felt the need to be distinguished from others by attaining the requisite documentation to go with its product.
“People were doing ‘sand blocks’ and there was no real documentation available for foreigners coming into Guyana or even Guyanese to justify that the product they are purchasing from a manufacturer, is being made to required specifications…and that drove us to get certified.”
“This was enhanced by the fact that more persons are coming into the country, maybe because of oil also, and want to be confident that they are paying for products which are sturdy or ‘the real deal,” he explained.
The company also did its research in other CARICOM countries where it was found that people opt for more durable construction materials supported by certification.
Mr. Rampersad described the process towards getting certified as challenging, but noted that the company continually worked until it was successful in eliminating every non-conformity to the standard. “We had a steady process and were meeting the requirements according to the standard which we were surprised that the Bureau already had in place to be utilised,” the Factory Manager said.
After all of the hard work put in by the management and staff of the company, Gafsons Industries Limited received its Certification in June 07, 2019 under the GNBS Product Certification Programme.
Upon receiving its certificate, he noted that the demand for the concrete hollow blocks have increased by 100 percent.
“We can’t make enough blocks; we’re always running out of stock and I think that is because of the Certification. People like the strength and the quality of our blocks which we have been maintaining over the years,” he proudly stated.
The certificate is valid for one year and the company has been successful in attaining recertification in 2020 and 2021.
In fact, Gafsons was awarded a plaque from the GNBS on July 12, 2021 for ensure its blocks continuously meet the requirements of the Guyana Standard Specification for Load Bearing Masonry Concrete Units (GYS 215:2018).
In addition, the company has acquired its own Compression testing equipment to test the its concrete hollow blocks intermittently to maintain consistency of its end product.
Mr. Rampersad encourages other businesses to join the GNBS Product Certification Programme. “Don’t be scared of the process. Once you start, it will become less difficult and you will get there,” he said.
The GNBS provides Certification to local manufacturers and block makers who would like to continually demonstrate that their hollow blocks are meeting standard requirements. The Bureau also offers testing of concrete hollow blocks at its Flat 15, Sophia Exhibition Complex, Georgetown location for compressive strength, dimension, water absorption and moisture content.
Gafsons’ sister company, Plastic Products Limited have also certified its PVC pipes to the Guyana Standard Specification for poly (vinyl chloride) (PVC) plastic pipe (GYS 99:2010) and GYS 107:2010, ‘Specification for (PVC) pressure-rated pipes (SDR)’. Product certification is valid for one year. The company is also looking to certify its black water tanks.