Concrete Cancer Coverup, ctd


This time last week Whaleoil continued with its series exposing a concrete cancer cover-up within the $400m New Zealand concrete market.

The tip-line has been abuzz with concerns from Wellington insiders close to the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ).

They are deeply concerned that CCANZ has hitched their wagon to the company at the centre of the cover-up – cement importer Drymix, and that the exposure of the concrete cancer issue is not going to end well for the industry body.

These insiders are worried that CCANZ’s position is compromising the integrity of the wider concrete industry and are not happy with how they are managing the growing concerns and unease within the construction and building sectors.

Last week CCANZ held a crisis meeting in Wellington where they obviously decided that they’re too deep in the hole and that the better option is to keep digging. Let’s see how that works out for them.  

CCANZ is now pretending dodgy cement has not been used in places like the $40m Manukau Court upgrade, Fonterra’s new $120m UHT plant in Waitoa, or the new Yashili NZ Dairy plant in Pokeno.

Instead of front-footing the issue, CCANZ has missed out a vital opportunity to clear the whole mess up once and for all.

What CCANZ has done is quietly put up an ‘Industry Update’ on their website, hoping this will keep the issue at bay.

Insiders couldn’t help but laugh when they read about a so-called ‘independent consultant report into the supply of the imported cement in question concluded that the cement did not have exceessive alkali levels’.

The funder of this independent consultant report was no less than Drymix, the very company at the heart of the concrete cancer cover-up, whose boss Hunter Crossan confirmed alkali levels in imported cement from Vietnam had not been in the range of accepted New Zealand standards.

WOBH is hearing that MBIE officials are now starting to get a little uneasy about the advice CCANZ Chief Executive Rob Gaimster is giving them, particularly when that advice is being passed up to the Minister’s office and potentially drags their Minister into the quagmire.

Now, claims of a concrete cancer cover-up would evaporate if the following questions were answered.

  1. Why did Drymix not publish monthly test results for some six months (October 2013-March 2014) that had high Alkali levels (as test in a N.Z. accredited laboratory) which exceeded the N.Z. industry recognised limit of <0.6%?
  2. Why did Drymix then only release the six months of test results when the first test (April 2014) that met the N.Z. industry limit become available?
  3. Why is Drymix now denying there is a problem, when in CCANZ’s very own communications has Drymix admitting the alkali levels were above the New Zealand Industry recognised level?
  4. How has Drymix managed to ‘blend’ thousands of tonnes of cement containing high alkali levels with cement from another Vietnam supplier that has alkali levels that meet NZ specification?
  5. Why did Drymix not alert concrete design engineers, civil engineers and customers that there was a problem across the 6-month period in question?

There’s another way this whole issue would go away. And that is if a simple core sample was taken from the sites mentioned above. It’s a really simple process as the video above shows.

Then, send those samples to an independent certified laboratory for chemical analysis

The question is whether CCANZ really wants to take that risk.


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  • BlitzkriegNZ

    I’m amazed that this hasn’t gained any attention in the MSM! These articles may not get many comments anymore but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to expose these idiots. Keep up the good work!

    • Michael_l_c

      It’s another building scandal like leaky & Chch. Who will want to be working in the affected buildings in 5 or 10 years time? Better to sort it now while the manufacturers & suppliers insurance companies still exists.

    • There is a full court press to silence the story out there. Media being snowed, same with government officials

  • Is there a way to get a complete list of affected structures? I would imagine this is rather critical from a lot of standpoints. Financial, safety, insurance, legal….

    EDIT: And if I was Drymix, I’d set up a new company pronto, get it to buy Drymix’s assets, and liquidate. That’s how it is done, isn’t it?

  • Time For Accountability

    The question of independent laboratory testing is interesting from several aspects.

    If the tests are funded by the company producing the product it raises questions – are they truly independent.

    Then the quality of the laboratory needs to be established beyond doubt. For example are they in turn regularly audited.

    I am aware of a pending issue whereby Consumer engage an independent laboratory to test a particular product. It turns out that when some of the same products are tested by an American Laboratory they get completely different results.

    Further investigation show that the products getting the best results from the consumer engaged laboratory have a source of origin in the country conducting the consumer tests that could indicate local bias.

    It also transpired one of the product manufacturers paid an extraordinary amount of money for so called independent tests and lo and behold they got the best results.

    Consumer publish the results of what may be skewed laboratory research and influence a market worth millions of dollars annually.

    I would be interested to find out who audits consumers practices and what processes they have to verify the auditing of their independent testing laboratories.

    I am aware of results from laboratories with an independent auditing policy which are at marked variance from the laboratories consumer use.

    Similar issues may need to be considered when accessing the tests for concrete.

    The issue I refer to above could shake the very foundations of the public perception of consumer in a similar manner to the credibility of the CAANZ.

  • R&BAvenger

    Good question about core testing. I’ve participated in meetings in relation to roading projects, including RoNS projects. The contracter and engineers were conducting concrete testing on the kerb and channels to ensure they were to spec.
    Why not on building construction? You’d think it’d be mandatory? On the other hand the tests have been done and the results either ignored, or deemed ‘acceptable’.

  • Allan

    the core testing may not give you the values you want, you could very well be getting some contamination of alkalis from the aggregate and other additives used in making the concrete plus the alkali content may be below the detection limit of the test that would be usually used to measure the cement originally.

  • HSV325

    This is head in the sand stuff and same as the leaky building and passive fire protection issues in the construction industry.