CBA members pledge to provide free clay bricks to rebuild an ABT school that was flattened by gale-force winds earlier this year.
Several Clay Brick Association (CBA) members have pledged to provide free clay bricks to rebuild the No-Moscow Primary School in Qunu, near East London, which collapsed earlier this year during a vicious storm with gale-force winds.
The school was built three years ago with an Alternative Building Technology (ABT) system that included a structural steel frame and prefabricated panels. Constructed within a record time of two months, it was hailed in March 2013 as a world-class learning environment. Four classrooms, a library, the principal’s office, the Grade R centre and toilets are among the sections that were destroyed.
Initiated by Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mbuso Mandela, the school was donated in honour of Madiba, and erected within sight of the former president’s Qunu home.
“This area is known as the Wild Coast due to its extreme weather and the original community school was also destroyed during a storm in 2002,” says Jonathan Prior, executive director of the Clay Brick Association of South Africa. “This location calls for conventional building technologies that are capable of withstanding high winds and heavy rainfall.”
According to Prior, clay brick has long been the material of choice for safe, low-maintenance and lasting school infrastructure, and the pledges made by the CBA members in the region to provide free clay bricks to rebuild the school are in keeping with Madiba’s vision of promoting education within an optimal learning environment.
Strength and stability
“The natural structural strength and dimensional stability of clay brick, coupled with its high fire rating, ensure that children are well protected against natural disasters as well as civil crime, vandalism and unrest,” Prior states.
Clay bricks are water-resistant and impervious to frost, rain, hail, winds or extreme heat. Clay bricks cannot rot, puncture, dent, fade, decay, corrode or tarnish. With a lifespan of 100 years and more, bricks are often recycled and reused.
“The CBA has regularly drawn attention to quality issues with experimental systems, and has provided photographic evidence of cracking and disrepair on the exterior and interior walls of five other schools in the Eastern Cape, all occupied less than three years ago.”
“Brick is a low-risk building material and fulfil all the requirements for school infrastructure,” adds Prior. “There is a huge body of knowledge and experience on construction standards and techniques, and local labour is easy to find.
“We are committed to support this local community, who has now experienced the loss of two schools in the past 15 years. We are pleased to be able to offer them an efficient and cost-effective building material solution in the long term – a traditional, world-class clay brick school,” he concludes.
Clay Brick Association of South Africa
Tel: 011 805 4205