Government steps to toughen up standards on building and construction material have been praised by the Consumer Council of Fiji, which says it’s a timely intervention.
“These standards will mean stronger and long lasting houses for many,” a Council statement highlighted.
“This state-commitment is timely as ordinary Fijians have been paying money to some traders in return for substandard building material. For instance, some consumers have been supplied with fungus-infested plywood to build their houses. In some cases, untreated pine logs and Masonite boards were supplied.”
The Council has received 25 complaints about timber quality in the last four and a half years, which it says reflect a common problem with plywood sold on the market, with dark spots and fungus infestation and timber that hadn’t been properly treated.
“The concerned consumers have paid a significant amount of money to traders. Some have borrowed money to build or repair their houses, but only to receive down-market timber.”
The Council said it anticipates more stringent systems to monitor the quality of material supplied by the construction industry.
“Consumers and contractors have indicated to the Council what they view as a deterioration in quality of plywood and timber as they used to be – given that houses built years back have stood firm against wear and tear, fungus and mold.”