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ManufacturingWed, 19 May, 21

"BURNT BRICKS" THE UNTAPPED HOPE FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

"BURNT BRICKS" THE UNTAPPED HOPE FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The executive secretary of the Bricks and Tiles Manufacturers Association of Ghana, Mr. Sam Awoodzie has expressed his excitement about the use of burnt bricks as indicated by the Works and Housing Minster for affordable housing as a dream come true for the association. 

The Bricks and Tiles Manufacturers Association of Ghana are producers and distributors of ceramics and burnt bricks for construction and infrastructure development.

Burnt bricks have been proven to be one of the strongest building material made by mankind. A quality burnt brick does not flaw, does not sook water. Building with burnt bricks can last for a thousand years.  It is scientifically proven, classical examples are the forts and castles built in the colonial days which is still in existence and very strong. “Cement blocks last for hundred years as compared to burnt bricks that last for thousand years, these are scientifically proven” Mr. Awoodzie averred. 

Over the years in Ghana burnt bricks was used, President- Dr  Kwame Nkrumah made an agenda to build bricks factories across the country. 

Research has shown that Ghana is endowed with very high quality clay for bricks and ceramics in almost all the 16 regions.

Government policies over the years have shift from burnt bricks concentrating on cement which collapse the industry. “For people to accept and patronize a product, visibility is key, so as burnt bricks faded out from the real estate market people began to forget about it’s use. 
Most industries collapsed and those that survived was producing at low capacity ”- Mr Awoodzie stated. 

All over the country, there are Bricks factories but they are being produced at low capacity. Most of the burnt bricks producers stopped production because it wasn’t lucrative any longer to the populace. 

Also the conspiracy theory about most Ghanaians is that, burnt bricks are mud houses which was highly wrong, this did a lot of damage to the industry making burnt bricks unattractive. 
“The news from Hon. Asenso Boakye came as a welcoming news to the association, for the past two years since 2018, we realized the producers must come together and advocate to engage stakeholders and improve on the bricks quality. Early research conducted by the association was to concentrate on quality and standard to standardize the brick”. Mr. Awoodzie claimed.

In an interview with Real Estate Times Africa (RET), the executive secretary says The Building and Road Research Institute helps them in their findings on how to prepare the clay for bricks to come out with a standard for burnt bricks for all producers in the country. Such agenda came about to support a big project for all bricks producers to evolve.

The quality bricks need no imported components hence no freight charges as like cement. The machine use to produce bricks are locally made, no need of huge investment to start a brick business in Ghana. The cost of a burnt brick is averagely GHS1.50ps per one.

Mr. Awoodzie said, his association has engaged with the Ghana Real Estate Development Association (GREDA) about the use of burnt bricks, but GREADA is a profit making organization, they must sell what the consumers are interested in, GREDA is ready to use burnt bricks as long as people have the taste for such building material in building their houses. 

Mr. Awoodzie stated, his association is doing a lot of public sensitization and education through the media for the populace to be aware of the use of bricks. The association is currently engaging with government to use burnt bricks for schools, clinics, administrative buildings, market places and affordable homes.

They have also engaged with the Ghana Institute Architects, to be able to convince home owners to use the bricks as a better option in putting up buildings. 

BTMOG is an amalgamation developers including quantity surveyors and engineers to make it a one stop shop for consumers.
“We as an association were very happy when the Nana Addo government stated in their manifesto in page 160 that the use of local contents in infrastructure developments will be adapted. 
 Paragraph 2 of page 160 also stated “On the other hand we have demonstrated the availability of local building materials including burnt bricks and pouzzolane. This was as a result of engagement with the previous Minister for Work and Housing, Mr. Atta kyea and the current President, Akufo- Addo, that if government begins to use bricks, acceptability follows for the citizens to also patronize.” - Mr. Awoodzie

The association is glad the government has taken the initiative up, they described the Minister as a man full of fire to push the use of bricks which will benefit the industry and the country. 

BTMOG says, currently there is no direct government policy that is helping the association but they are so much hopeful that the government will draw down policies to protect the association as it has started in a subtle way. 

BTMOG encouraged the use of burnt bricks for building because it saves cost- one doesn’t  paint burnt bricks, one doesn’t  plaster the bricks and also the cost of labour for painting and plastering all can be saved. 

It’s also energy efficient, very good for our weather, it’s not a conductor of heat at the long run also help fellow Ghanaians to create more jobs, it is a whole value change. 

BTMOG is in collaboration with a developer who is also a master brick layer who recruits and trains young ones in bricks laying for employment. 

This also creates wealth in rural communities to support the government flagship one district one factory.  Once there is employment in the villages, the rural- urban migration that is causing housing deficit in the cities will slow down. 

The association is also seriously looking to partner government in the affordable housing project to come to a concession price to produce more for any project as long as they don’t run at a lost. 

Mr Awoodzie stated, he is working on a project called “bricks for jobs” for the youth to train many youth in technical institutions and TVET to help them gain a simple livelihood to bring down agitation about the level of unemployment in the country.  

 

Source: Nana Agyei Sikapa Ofosu Manu (Real Estate Times Africa)

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