BRRI seeks funding to reactivate abandoned brick factories

The Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is seeking government funding to reactivate abandoned brick factories in the country.

Officials say the initiative would improve the quality of locally produced building materials to meet market demands.

Bricks have been the ideal construction material for thousands of years.

The reasons for this include beauty in diversity, long life and value retention as well as comfort fire protection. Clay brick is also an environmentally sustainable product.

In spite of the multitude of benefits in the use of bricks, patronage in the Ghanaian construction is on the decline.

The BRRI wants to revive the local brick and tile industry, in supporting government to use local materials in construction.

Director of the Institute, Dr. Eugene Atiamo believes an increase in brick patronage as well as use of pozzolana would reduce dependence on clinker cement in building and construction.

According to him, government policy of using 60percent of local materials in construction by 2015 would be missed “if we are not able to resuscitate this brick industry and then expand the pozzolana producing unit”.

The BRRI has been promoting the use of pozzolana cement after years of research into the product.

Patronage however remains weak, as some players in the housing industry complain of lack of access.

The BRRI Director says Ghana would be paying the price of buying very expensive cement if issues of demand and supply of local building materials are not addressed.

“Now we’re importing cement from China, Brazil, all over; why should we? Yet cement is not superior to bricks, not even earth blocks,” he quizzed.

Whilst urging players in the housing industry to develop taste for local building materials, Dr. Atiamo says government consultants need to specify pozzonala in housing contracts to drive demand.

“If we pump in at least Gh₵50-100million a year to build houses from our local resources, in five to ten years time we would have reduced this huge deficit if housing,” he advocated. “And once we are able to increase demand for our local materials, I bet you the investors, the private sector will go into it.”

Story Kofi Adu Domfeh

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