Demystifying Fired Clay Brick: Comparative Analysis of Different Materials for Walls, with Fired Clay Brick(Journal Article)
Low-income tropical housing in Uganda today is a complex issue that extends beyond the physical dwelling and encapsulates psychological notions, i.e. human ideals, needs, wants, aspirations, and economic ability. Rural construction continues to expend significant quantities of energy and environmental resources in production of fired clay brick, the locally favoured choice. Regrettably, the notion that this material is cheap escalates negligent handling during production, transportation and construction, which then generate large quantities of waste. This paper presents a study that seeks to evaluate peopleís perceptions of the production and usage of fired Clay Bricks, then to propose viable alternatives. People are a crucial entity in the struggle to: improve fuel efficiency at local Kilns, increase reuse/ repurposing of construction waste, then raise awareness about material embodied energy and subsequent energy demand on communities. Despite evidence of associated negative impacts of brick production like deforestation, excessive soil extraction, energy intensive production, and high waste, there is still rampant unregulated production. Cost, being a primary consideration for many construction stakeholders, is interrogated as part of this search for a viable alternative. The alternative shall endeavour to minimize production energy and construction waste, and possibly save up to 20% on the building cost. This study culminates in a student lead design-build project. The Display Space at Uganda Martyrs University is a built attempt to investigate alternative wall materials as well as building cost. The Space was designed and shall be built by students of the Faculty of the Built Environment. The building structure is a combination of rammed earth walls and site produced stabilized soil blocks to replace the commonly used brick. Since precedent success stories reveal that a creative force emerges when all the residents, stakeholders and consultants come together as a collaborative community. It is envisaged that a creative force shall emerge from community involvement in this project with the hope of disseminating concerns that shall propel the community residents towards shaping more regenerative environments.