Clay brick is one of the materials where buying local makes more sense than looking beyond our borders. Here is five reasons why.
Looking at foreign countries for mega-produced materials and products can pose high risks when these products relate to safety and security, are bulky, fragile or difficult to transport, need to be produced sustainably with consideration for human rights and the global environment, are expected to have longevity, and must suit South African conditions and culture.
The level of skills, technology and innovation in South Africa is often underestimated, while in fact the country is a world leader in many fields, for example engineering.
People want their homes and schools to protect their families. In addition, social infrastructure needs to be energy efficient and low maintenance in a country that experiences extreme heat in summer, corrosive coastal storms and frosty winters across the interior. A local product that ticks all the boxes is clay brick.
Five reasons to buy local
Clay brick is a dense construction material – that is what makes it energy efficient and safe, but also expensive to transport. The closer to the point of manufacture, the better the price. Competitively priced, accredited brick suppliers can be found in every region, providing consistent quality stock-in-hand and short transport distances.
The Clay Brick Association of South Africa (CBA) has an interactive map on its website, www.claybrick.org, with contact and product information by supplier.
Unlike many other construction materials, bricks are modular and easy to transport. Modular clay-brick walling allows construction teams to quickly adapt to change requests, respond to unexpected site conditions and implement complex architectural designs.
Many manufacturers supply bricks in non-standard, large sizes to lower material cost, use less mortar and have fewer joins per square metre. With 140mm-wide bricks, one can build a single leaf wall that meets SABS10400-XA.
3. Low risk
Bricks are manufactured to SABS specifications and their use is controlled by strict national building regulations to protect home owners and property investors. There is a well-established knowledgebase of technical information for use with different foundations, soils and climate zones, ensuring consistent strength, timing and costs.
CBA members are expected to conform to legislation regarding air pollution and environmental protection, as well as a strict code of conduct with regard to how bricks are manufactured.
5. Economic growth in rural areas
Creating and supporting local industries that add value to the country’s natural resources is a critical turnaround strategy for South Africa. Brick production plants are found outside urban centres and provide stimulus for economic transformation, local job creation and skills development.
No matter where the construction site is located, it is easy to find trained, local bricklayers to complete the project. It is estimated that over 200 000 workers are directly employed across the building industry as brickmakers, bricklayers and plasterers.
The Clay Brick Association of South Africa
Tel: 011 805 4206
Caption: Masonry construction is easy to learn and promoting local skills development. Bricks are entirely locally produced and readily available at competitive prices throughout South Africa.