By Ahlete C. Reyes
TACLOBAN CITY, (PNA) — The Materials Testing Laboratory of the Second Leyte Engineering District was rated as one-star following the assessment made by the Bureau of Research and Standards (BRS) of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The conferment of star rating is based on a department order issued by DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singzon in February 2013. The order implements a star rating system, for testing laboratories of the regional and district offices of the DPWH to enhance the materials testing capability of the implementing offices and improve quality control in project implementation.
Materials testing laboratories are being classified into one-star, two-star or three-star based on availability of testing equipment and apparatus; capability, competence and knowledge of the laboratory personnel to conduct specific tests on materials; observance of health and safety standards; working area of the laboratory; calibration of apparatus/ equipment; and, third party certification.
Per initial assessment by personnel from the Materials Testing Division (MTD) of the Bureau of Research and Standards, 2nd LED’s Laboratory working area, which has an area of 118.92 sq.m., meets the three-star requirement with adequate supply of electricity and water which are essential in testing activities.
Fire extinguisher and personal protective equipment such as gloves, apron and masks for the health and safety of laboratory personnel were also provided inside the laboratory as required.
As to availability of laboratory equipment criteria, the District Testing Laboratory was rated as one-star category; while engineers assigned in the Quality Assurance Section also meet the requirements per approved plantilla position for the Second Class District Engineering Office.
2nd LED Material Testing and Quality Control section chief Villa R. Lim disclosed that based on the results of the evaluation and assessment made by the BRS, the materials testing laboratory of the 2nd Leyte Engineering District passed the one-star category.
However, the bureau recommends that necessary laboratory testing apparatus and equipment for the conduct of quality test of asphaltic materials/ asphalt mixes and portland cement be acquired in order to upgrade the laboratory from one star to two star category. Likewise, the bureau advised the 2nd LED to have at least two accredited DPWH materials engineers in its Quality Assurance Section to comply with the two-star category requirements pursuant to Department Order No. 11.
As per DPWH department order 11 series of 2013, all regional offices and all first class district offices should exert all efforts to attain one-star rating status within one year from the effectivity of the order while second and third class district offices are given two years.
Regional offices should upgrade their status to two-star rating within two years; while all other laboratories should work towards upgrading their star rating.
The BRS initially gives the star rating to all regional and district laboratories. Henceforth, upgrading of star ratings will be made upon the request of the head of office and upon evaluation by the BRS, which would recommend to the DPWH secretary the upgrading of the star rating if found meritorious, it was learned.