By Anthony M. Wanjohi:
Interlocking Brick Making Technology has potentials of transforming housing gaps in developing economies like Kenya. As per 2015 estimations, Kenya has a deficit of 2.5 million units that continues to grow at a rate of over 200,000 units per year. Interlocking brick making machines, which could help to address the gap, are already in the market place. For instance, Hydraforms Interlocking and Conventional Brick making machines are in already being used in Kenya.
Figure 1: Hydraform Brick Making Machine
The technology behind Hydraform Brick Making Machine involves production of earth and clay blocks, with addition of water and Cement. Mathematically, this translates into the following simple equation: Earth + Water + Cement (optional) = Interlocking Earth Brick.
There are different types of bricks that are produced using the Brick Making Machines depending on the mould. The most common types of bricks that are produced include standard soil block which could have the following measurements: width 20cm, length 24cm, height 12.5 cm. Figures 2 and 3 shows sample interlocking earth bricks.
While interlocking bricks are slowly finding their place in Kenya’s market, there are a number of questions that continue to be raised: what is the durability of soil bricks as compared to the conventional blocks? Can earth bricks withstand adverse whether conditions such as rain and fog? what is the best soil to prepare these bricks? Are there existing standards to guide earth brick production? These and many questions continue to linger on the minds of producers (justifiers) and consumers (complainants). Thus, in as much as earth bricks technology has potential of providing quick answer to the housing problem in Kenya, there is need for standardization of all forms of earth and clay products including flooring and roofing materials.