South Africans often underestimate our local level of skills, technology and innovation. In many fields – especially engineering - South Africa leads the world.
There are certain products where mega-production in foreign countries carries high risks.
- Products with a long life
- Products that relate to safety and security
- Products that are bulky, fragile or difficult to transport
- Products that need to be produced sustainably with consideration for human rights and the global environment.
- Products that must suit South African conditions and culture.
Clay brick is one product that ticks all these boxes. We want our homes and schools to protect our families for at least our lifetime, and preferably longer. We want our social infrastructure 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.
“Buy local” usually means “buy South African”, but when it comes to clay brick, local is a lot closer to home – often less than 100km!
Clay brick are dense construction materials – that is what makes them so energy efficient and safe. But that also makes them expensive to transport. You will usually get the best price close to the point of manufacture.
Competitively-priced, accredited brick suppliers can be found in every region, providing consistent quality stock-in-hand and short transport distances.
The website www.claybrick.org has an interactive map that allows you to select your construction site and identify contact and product information for suppliers in your area.
Unike many other construction materials, bricks are modular and easy to transport. Bricks can be moved in a small bakkie and relocated on site by hand, so they can cope with rural roads and restricted space on site. Buy as fast as you can build.
Modular clay brick walling allows construction teams to quickly adapt to the client’s 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.
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.
Clay Brick Association of South Africa 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.
Economic growth in rural areas
Creating and supporting local industries that add value to our 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 there will be trained, local bricklayers to complete the project. It is estimated that over 200,000 workers are directly employed across the building industry as brick makers, brick layers and plasterers.
For a free technical manual on bricklaying best practice, click here.