The use of quality materials, appropriate site selection and compliance with the national building codes could ensure quality construction and sustainable buildings in Bangladesh, according to experts.
"Quality MS rod, cement, and other materials are important components to ensure quality construction. So, utilisation of the quality of these materials should be ensured," said Khan Mahmud Amanat, a professor of the civil engineering department at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).
He was addressing a webinar styled "Quality and Sustainability of Building Construction" organised by BSRM, the country's leading steel-maker, marking the "World Quality Day" on Thursday.
"Bangladesh is an earthquake-prone country, so the use of the earthquake-proof rod is a must to ensure the safety and quality of structures," he noted.
He alleged that a number of steel re-rolling companies make rod from scrap steel without formulating billet which is very risky.
"This type of substandard MS rod is used in the construction of small bridges, culverts and buildings under the Education Engineering Department of the government work in rural areas."
"The trend is a major obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."
Prof Amanat suggested stopping production of MS rod from scrap steel directly and compelling the steel re-rolling mills to formulate rod from billet to ensure the quality of products.
Ishrat Islam, a professor of the department of the urban and regional planning at the BUET, stressed on the appropriate site selection for the construction of buildings to ensure quality and safety.
She suggested avoiding waterlogged areas while choosing a site.
According to her, the current trend of construction is giving priority to fossil fuel-based energy sources for electricity, instead of making the structures green through the use of daylight. The trend is not environment-friendly.
"We are following the western world in construction. But we need to have our own codes because the environment is different. We are only thinking about glamour," she said.
Prof Islam emphasised that the national building code is followed across the country.
Prof Md Tarek Uddin, head of the civil engineering department at the Islamic University of Technology, suggested using innovative technologies to reduce the use of materials in order to ensure quality construction and cut carbon emission.
Aftabuddin Ahmed, a former president of the Bangladesh Association of Construction Industry, said engineers should follow the design.
He alleged that proper design is not followed during the construction work, causing accidents.
He called for raising awareness among the people about quality construction work.
Abdus Sobhan, managing director of Design Planning and Management Ltd, laid stress on the need of providing training to both management and workers involved in the construction work to ensure quality.
"Planning of work and services should be improved continuously," he noted.
He further said the work should be completed on time and monitored to avoid the use of substandard materials.
Referring to Japanese construction practices, Sobhan said leadership management and system design could ensure quality construction.
Mahfuz Anam, the editor of The Daily Star, said the topic is not interesting for the ordinary people. Still, it is essential for building the nation, quality houses, becoming a middle-income country and sustainability of construction.
Mohammad Abu Sadeque, executive director of the Center for Housing and Building Research, made a presentation on the topic and conducted the webinar.
"It is easy to improve construction efficiency by improving planning and through good construction management software and by investing in training, improving communication, establishing performance measurements, making workforce accountable and implementing prefabrication and modular construction."
He suggested starting with the right workers, investing in technology, using the right materials, and ensuring safety and compliance to guarantee quality construction,
Sadeque called for proper maintenance of the projects after they are completed, conducting audit and testing.
He stressed on life cycle assessment, design efficiency, off-site prefabricated technology, durable and maintainable design, energy and water efficiency, efficiency in material selection and use, and indoor environmental quality enhancement for sustainable building.
He recommended proper site management for an improved environment, waste management control, recycle and residual waste management.