To adequately cover the whole country, the national organisation is divided into five main territorial bases: North, South, East, West, and the more industrialised Centre, or ‘Chlef’ region. Each wilaya (territory) has at least one agency, with more offices in larger cities, such as Algiers which has five branches, to meet demand.
“We act like a quality control office, such as Bureau Veritas,” says Mohamed Cherif, CEO of the CTC Centre. “Our main mission is to control a project from upstream to downstream. First the project’s conception and design are looked at and then we give our quality stamp on the execution plan; these steps represent the study stage. The second phase is the implementation of the project. We intervene to check the work on site complies with the plans we approved.”
The CTC Centre has established an ISO 9001:2000-compliant quality management system, with a series of procedures designed to ensure that appropriate standards are maintained, with three objectives in mind: skills, technical level and credibility. Mr Cherif adds, “Our mission is just to control, not to follow: on-site inspection visits are done on an unannounced basis. Also we never select materials or teams on a building project. We arrive at the end and issue a certificate of compliance with reference to a legal and regulatory framework.”
Building projects in Algeria are legally obliged to include the CTC Centre’s involvement, and architects and developers are required to take out liability insurance for a period of at least 10 years.
The CTC Centre provides valuable support for public authorities, particularly in the context of natural disasters, such as earthquakes or floods, where it performs damage assessments. In terms of the organisation’s guiding principles, it manages the risks inherent to civil engineering works and minimises the risk of building malfunctions and collapses.
“This is a fundamental and essential aspect of our intervention,” says Mr Cherif. “Algeria has an array of highly developed rules concerning the use of materials, particularly earthquake-resistant components. We follow and develop these regulations, as they are very important tools for supervisors.”
In practical terms, the CTC Centre has laboratories operated by 30 engineers with up-to-date equipment for a wide range of tests and analyses. The laboratory not only carries out investigations for the CTC Centre but also for external customers. Some of the labs are mobile, comprising a vehicle and two engineers who focus mainly on tracking and checking samples, and a very powerful software package (RCTC) has been extended to every CTC Centre agency.
“The analyses are kept in a central database to monitor the quality of materials used in construction, especially concrete, which is the most common building material used in Algeria,” says Mr Cherif. The main technical qualities monitored are the solidity, stability and water resistance of the materials used.
Training is a primary focus of the CTC Centre, particularly concerning their engineers, who are constantly kept up to date with the latest developments in the industry. The organisation’s engineers and technicians must also adhere to a code of ethics that define moral duties to uphold such as transparency, responsibility and loyalty in their work.
“We try to concentrate and catalyse all our building expertise and professional knowledge with regular internal training sessions. The CTC engineer is a reference in the industry. For building control work, there is no specific training; it is comes from experience in the field. So the professional development we do really is unique to the CTC Centre,” says Mr Cherif.