BEC and CAST lab set to drive building sector with trusted safety testing and inspection

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Sand equivalent test. SUPPLIED

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The Kingdom’s first quasi-national testing laboratory for the construction sector – jointly established under a public-private partnership between the Board of Engineers, Cambodia (BEC) and Singapore’s CAST Laboratories Pte Ltd – is set to introduce new standards and industry best practices.

The newly established Board of Engineers, Cambodia Laboratory (BECL), which had its soft lunch in July, is ready to roll out a full suite of product testing, verification, inspection and certification services for the building sector.

“BECL, as part of Cambodia’s national testing and inspection laboratory, will help safeguard the quality and integrity of Cambodia’s building projects through its highly trusted testing and inspection services. The formation of BECL is pivotal towards achieving a safer construction industry in Cambodia.

“CAST Laboratories is known for its accredited services and competencies in meeting Singapore’s strict quality testing and inspection standards. With the establishment of BECL under the guidance of BEC, we aim to strengthen Cambodia’s building and infrastructure development through credible testing and inspection processes.

“These will ultimately increase the trust and confidence of both local and foreign investors in Cambodia, achieving a sustainable economy and improved quality of life for the people of Cambodia,” Singapore-based CAST Laboratories (Cambodia) director Gary Ng Kin Choy told The Post.

The Asean-nation partnership has allowed both parties to share expertise in setting up a recognised lab that will assist builders in practising high standards and improving quality in the construction sector, he added.

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Tensile test of reinforcement bar using universal testing machine. SUPPLIED

“Partnering with BEC to form BECL allows us to combine our capabilities to facilitate the quality testing and control of building and construction standards in Cambodia. BEC and CAST Laboratories share a common mission, which is to build a safer and more sustainable environment for the construction sector in Cambodia.

“Cambodia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia, with a determined government committed to Cambodia’s prosperity.

“Recognising that our services will be valuable towards supporting and enhancing quality and safety in the construction sector, CAST Laboratories established a subsidiary in Cambodia to form BECL as the leading testing, inspection and certification provider in Cambodia,” Ng said.

Established in 1981 in Singapore, CAST Laboratories is a leading independent testing and quality-control centre that provides laboratory and on-site testing, inspection services, and certification to the building and construction, oil and gas, and shipyard industries.

It provides more than 250 testing and inspection services in Singapore and other Asean countries, and has been operating in the Kingdom for the past six years.

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Concrete coring. SUPPLIED

In Cambodia, it will be rolling out series of services in phases starting with civil engineering materials testing, including concrete non-destructive testing (NDT), steel NDT and soil testing, as well as ready mix concrete plant calibration and concrete mix design preparation.

And CAST Group CEO Lim Eng Heng says history shows that such quality assessments only increase return on investment.

“Cambodia is going through the same phase as Singapore did in the construction sector. When a society becomes more urbanised and more high-rise buildings are being built, people tend to worry about safety.

“So with more stringent testing, the public, government agencies and other stakeholders are assured of quality construction, and this improves the value of properties.

“If there are cracks in a building and there is slipshod work, nobody will want to buy your property and the value will drop. This testing lab will drive Cambodia’s property and construction markets to a higher value platform,” he said.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training have given BECL a 30-year concession to to carry out its services in the Kingdom.

Lim says the increased confidence these will bring will further propel Cambodia’s construction sector – a key driver of the Kingdom’s growth – and in turn its economic development.

“Sustainable buildings and infrastructure are imperative to Cambodia’s economic development and urbanisation. With Cambodia’s construction sector expanding at a fast pace, high compliance to building standards for safety assurance cannot be compromised.

“BECL will ensure that all construction projects in Cambodia meet the highest safety standards via various testing and inspection requirements.

“This will in turn enhance confidence for all stakeholders and promote continuous growth in the Kingdom’s construction market,” Lim said.

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CAST lab provides over 250 testing and inspection services. SUPPLIED

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Ground penetrating radar rebar location scan test. SUPPLIED