Government testing center defends Island Cement test results

Government testing center defends Island Cement test results
Published: 11 October 2004

The Bureau of Research Standards (BRS) has belied accusations that its testing equipment for cement products are outdated, saying the results of the state-run testing center are reliable.

Director Antonio Molano of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Bureau of Research Standards said the agency was standing by the dependability of the results of the government product testing centers, adding that while their equipment may not be new, they were still in good working condition.

Last week, Solid Cement Corp. said the cement testing equipment of the state-run testing center was outdated and in poor condition. The BRS was the only testing center out of five to give a failing mark to one of Solid Cement’s silos which were recently retested. The Island Cement samples have passed a series of tests in four other cement laboratories, namely, the Philippine GeoAnalytics, Inc., the Cement Testing Center, Construction Technology Laboratories, Inc., and Solid Cement’s own testing lab.

"While our equipment may not be new, they are still in good working condition. They are not outdated, they are only about 10-15 years old," said Mr. Molano. He admitted however that some of the testing facilities in the BRS laboratories are indeed old but he added, they are not the ones used to test cement products.

The BRS chief defended the reliability of their test results against Solid Cement’s claims that the discrepancies in the BRS results may be attributed to their old facilities.

"Testing equipment need not be very new to give accurate and reliable test results. Even if they are about 10 to 15 years old as long as they are well maintained and well calibrated, the results are still dependable," he said.

Mr. Molano said the BRS facilities were properly maintained and regularly calibrated to assure accurate results, adding the agency also maintains and calibrates other accredited testing centers in the Philippines.

"It is also not true that we use a 1964 laboratory manual. We have updated our laboratory manuals until 1995 and we are in the process of consolidating a newer one. The 1964 manual is only used as reference. Nevertheless, our primary basis is still the ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials)," said Mr. Molano.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Oct. 4 lifted the ban on Island Cement. But the DTI ordered a monthly product audit of the cement because one of the silos again failed the BRS tests despite passing in four other laboratories.