New rules on cement supposed to benefit consumer

The economics ministry said Friday that it had issued modifications in the regulations covering cement that eliminate technical obstacles for selling the product.

The regulations still have to be published in the La Gaceta official newspaper.

The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio said that some of the changes will allow more importations.

Costa Rican contractors always have complained about the limited number of cement vendors in the country. There were rules about how long cement could remain in storage before being used and how heavy each sack of cement could be.

There also were restrictions on the sale of bulk cement.

The regulations generally favored local firms whose products were generally much higher than the price of imported cement that faced the technical obstacles.

The end consumer, including expats building homes, seldom were aware of these prices.

The new regulations call for laboratory analysis of cement rather than imposing strict time limits.

Cement can pick up moisture and lose strength. Typically cement can lose 20 percent of its strength in three months, U.S. manufacturers report.

The regulations also eliminate the rule that bags of cement can weigh no more than 50 kilos, some 110 pounds. Rules protecting workers are in other documents and not in the technical regulations.

The change is expected to encourage bulk handling of cement.

The ministry said the changes create more competition in the marketplace and benefit the final consumer. The regulations were changes based on information from a number of other countries, said the ministry.

There are several simple tests that contractors can do to verify the quality of cement and concrete at the job site.



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