Earth Brick Construction: Cutting Down the Cost of Wall in Buildings.

Topics: Brick, Construction, Rammed earth Pages: 15 (3210 words) Published: March 8, 2013
Umar Faruq Muhammad1, Ahmad Hayatuddeen2

(Department of Architectural Technology, School of Environmental Studies/Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Nigeria)


(Department of Architectural Technology, School of Environmental Studies/Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Nigeria)


Provision of appropriate housing at an affordable cost has remained a nagging problem despite major development in modern building technologies. In this paper major factor were investigated and studied – earth bricks, the construction technologies adopted for them, and the cost implication of using them as building materials. The investigation was carried out by taking 100 samples public opinions within the middle – and lowincome earners. One of the most important opinions considered was the type of building materials preferred by the respondents and why it is chosen. Analysis of the collected data showed that more than 53% of the respondents prefer local building materials such as bricks, for building their own house. Also, a sizable percentage believes bricks are less










recommendations offered after a careful cost analysis of, building with bricks as against building with modern materials such as sandcrete blocks. The paper concluded by showing that appropriate housing can be achieve affordably for the majority, through the adoption of earth bricks and it accompanying technologies.

Housing has always been one of the most essential needs of man. Throughout the ages, different peoples have adopted and exploited different means for the same goal-to house themselves. One other aspect of this exploitation has also remained common among all peoples-everybody has strove to provide basic housing for them by utilizing materials which are locally available to them. The Eskimos are a typical example, where they use large blocks of ice to construct their houses! This way is able to achieve affordable and appropriate housing for the majority. Here at home countless historical African cities “grow” out of the rich earth which the continent is blessed with. Somewhere along the line however, ‘modernism’ cropped up and sort of distracted peoples’ focus. The love for everything new and the disdain for anything old became rampant. As a result of this, society in general and Nigeria in particular, found themselves in the quagmire of rising homelessness. Diogu and Okonkwo (2005) cited that between 1986 and 2000, Nigeria needed to construct 9million housing units to make up for deficits.

Although the year 2000 is about twelve years old now, but this paper, inspired by the belief that the deficit is still yet to be addressed, explores earth brick as a primary building material, mainly used for wall construction.

The intrinsic and extrinsic qualities of this material are extensively discussed. These include emphasis on how to enhance its durability and how to achieve cheap housing by its strategic employment, together with raw cost implications.

“Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one their neighbor’s house.” Henry Thoreau, 1854.

The disease of insufficient housing units has afflicted Nigeria since the beginning of the oil-boom. Indeed the third National Development Plan of 1975 to 1980 observed that “there is no area of social service where the urban worker in Nigeria now need relief more desperately than housing” [(Jinadu, 2004) as cited in EMWD (1975)]. A massive population increase resulted due to that boom, which according to the 1991 census would now be 126,769,420 –43.3% of this total number live in urban areas (Diogu & Okonkwo, 2005) thereby exerting tremendous pressure on the existing urban services and...
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