WHILE the construction industry is experiencing robust growth, the Department of Trade and Industry is reminding contractors and industry players to never consider using substandard building materials, to ensure project quality and safety.

DTI Cebu business regulation division chief Zaide Bation said authentic materials and products, including construction materials, bear the Philippine Standard (PS) mark or the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) sticker issued by DTI- Bureau of Product Standards “(I am calling on to) construction players and also manufacturers to ensure quality of their products, with the PS mark and ICC,” Bation said.

Last July, the Bureau of Customs reported that more than half of the ceramic tiles and plywood imported into the Philippines may have been imported and released without being cleared by BPS.

BPS requires manufacturers and importers of goods, including construction materials to undergo government tests and inspections. PS certifications and ICC certificates also extend to chemical products, consumer products, and electrical products among others.

Those that comply with the Philippine National Standards are given the PS license for locally produced ones, or ICC certificate for imported goods to indicate such are safe to use.

The bureau, which is based in Manila, will issue PS license to the manufacturer upon the recommendation of the local DTI, Bation said.

As of end 2014, BPS issued 294 PS licenses to 206 companies that manufacture construction materials. In Cebu, Bation said there are 40 companies with PS licenses that are involved in the manufacturing of steel bars, cement, fire extinguisher, and medical grade oxygen among others.

Manufacturers and importers with the PS license or ICC certificate are authorized to distribute and sell with the printed PS mark or the ICC sticker affixed to their products.

These required labels convey to the consumers that the products have passed the safety and performance tests and will guide them in distinguishing reliable and safe goods from uncertified ones, which could be inferior or substandard.

Bation said retailers found selling substandard products can face a penalty of P25,000 to P150,000. Meanwhile, manufacturers can be penalized to as much as P300,000 or it will be forced to stop operations.

The official said that in Cebu, the presence of substandard products is minimal. Last year, three retailers were caught selling substandard products.