Environmental and Affordable Housing Material - The Use of Bricks and Tiles in Reducing Housing Deficits in Developing Countries: A Case Study at Bongo District, Ghana
Many factors such as inadequate mortgage finance, defective land tenure system, and high cost of land are speculated to influence the housing deficit in Ghana. Rarely do the housing deficit challenges include unavailability of construction materials as a factor. Evidence of clays used in building are common mostly in Great Britain, Italy, Japan and sparsely in developing countries and was used in building in ancient Ghana. Clay is considered as an eco- friendly building material available on earth. The abundance of intrusive rocks in Bongo District led to the exploration and evaluation of clay for bricks and tiles in Balungu and Apamtaga areas. Six pits were dug at these two areas for clay mineralogy studies. The predominant minerals found were quartz, kaolinite, smectite and those present but in trace amounts were dolomite, amphibolite, microcline, plagioclase and muscovite. The predominant minerals also vary in mineral compositions with respect to the characteristics of the underlying geology. The results showed over 50% quartz, 11.8 % kaolinite and 6 .7% smectite clay minerals occur in most samples analysed. Additional investigation to aid in the determination of the clays suitability for bricks and tiles involved 85 auger drill holes that assessed the clay thickness at Balungu River catchment. An average clay thickness of 4.5 m was calculated from the 85 drill holes drilled over 382 m of core drilled. This drill activity identified 2840000 m2 area with significant clay thickness of 4.5 m averagely. The product of the prospective clay area and the average thickness led to the estimation of clay volume of 12, 78000.00 m3. Using dimensions of standard solid bricks of 0. 222 m × 0.106 m ×0.076 m, an equivalent of 0.00172 m3 60000 bricks can be produced in a day. A total of 38 or 41 production years will be required to exhaust the discovered clay for bricks and tiles. The utilization of clay that are readily abundant in Ghana may significantly provide solutions to the Ghana’s housing deficits and make housing affordable as the product will be cheap.
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