· Kenya should adopt established global standards for its thermoplastic pipe industry
· Recognised standards ensure World class products will be used in infrastructure investment
· Thermoplastic pipe technology is by far the best for Kenya’s burgeoning urbanisation.
The debate surrounding standards is a political hot potato. And as the great potato debate rages on, it should not be too difficult to acknowledge why there is a need for every industry, from food processing to furniture manufacturing to pharmaceuticals, to have a set of standards that governs both products and services and identifies best practices.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) correctly states that standards help to ensure that products and services are fit for their desired purpose and that they comply with accepted best practice.
Similarly, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) states:
“A Standard can be defined as an agreed, repeatable way of doing business. It is a published document that contains a technical specification or other precise criteria designed to be used consistently as a rule, guideline, or definition. Standards help to make life simpler and to increase the reliability and effectiveness of many goods and services we use.” Source ICE – Institution of Civil Engineers
This explains why there are periodic reviews, improvements, and amendments to standards right across the World.
One product that is beginning to play a crucial role in Kenya’s multibillion infrastructure sector is thermoplastic structured wall pipes. In the last two years, structured wall HDPE pipes have been introduced into the Kenyan water sector and the major benefits over traditional materials are already being recognised.
Some thermoplastic pipes such as Weholite have a proven 100-year service life and will play a key role in Kenya’s infrastructure by bringing a level of sustainability that has never been seen before. Additionally, the lightweight nature of thermoplastic structured wall pipes makes them ideal for urban installations where minimal disruption to the local community is vitally important.
Thermoplastic pipes bring a far higher value proposition than traditional alternatives. That is, when the total cost is analysed including maintenance, serviceability, and installation, and compared to traditional materials such as concrete; significant savings are realised,
For Kenya to fully realise the potential of structured wall thermoplastic pipes there is a need to ensure that these products fully comply with established international product standards such as BS EN 13746 and its sister publication ISO 21138. These documents assure a high level of manufacturing process and product quality thus ensuring that Kenya can install best value pipes from World class production plants.
It is important that Kenya begins adopting these standards because of the important role water plays in our lives, from drinking to sanitation management. Adopting these standards will give customers an assurance that products managing water are fit for purpose.
Regulators can play their part by introducing a product certification scheme where pipes that meet these standards are given the KEBS Standardisation Mark, which is issued to a company whose products conforms to requirements in certain standards in this case the BS EN 13746 and ISO 21138.
These positive actions will play a critical role in ensuring Kenya’s water sector is sustainable.