A new low cost brick helping in rebuilding safer communities

24/06/2015 – Moneragala, Sri Lanka: Rebuilding a house after a disaster is not an easy task. The cost and resources needed, do not come easily and the cost for construction items continuously keeps rising. Even for organizations like Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, its a difficult task to match the cost of a disaster and to help communities rebuild as the frequency of such calamities keeps rising each year.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Moneragala Branch recently held a training session for its members on cost effective construction methods that can bring the price drastically down specially for rural communities.

Last year flash floods wrecked havoc in several villages in Wellawaya area of the Moneragala district. Most people living in these areas are marginally poor and are not in a position to reconstruct their houses after a natural disaster.

Dr. Rangika Halwathura of the University of Moratuwa recently made a breakthrough in introducing a brick that can be made without baking it. This particular brick only uses a minimum amount of water and cement that can withstand massive forces.

Accordingly after discussion with Dr. Halwathura, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society initiated a programme to seek the possibility of utilizing this new brick in its construction.

The first phase of this was to have a discussion with the public and a programme was organized by the Moneragala branch. People who took part in the programme were introduced to this new method by Dr. Halwatura himself and was given an idea as to the benefits of utilizing this method.

Dr. Halwathura also demonstrated on how to select the type of soil that is required to make this brick that will forego the baking process needed in conventional bricks, cutting the cost by 60%. The strength of the brick is far superior than the normal baked brick.

This new brick brings in many benefits. They are:

  •   This method can save 60% of pelf of the householders if they will implement it their own.
  •   No need to plaster the walls of the house.
  •   The composition of the brick creates a cool atmosphere within the house giving it natural cooling.
  •   Painting cost will be less
  •   Able to convert this as a livelihood after completed the house construction.

The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Moneragala branch will continue to develop this project and introduce this method to residents in the area who were victims of natural disasters. They will also encourage occupants of new houses to adopt this method.

Currently this particular brick is been tested.

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