CREATES JOBS

Interlocking brick technology a game changer in Kitui housing plan

County already using the low-cost approach to construct 80 ECDE classrooms.

In Summary
  • The technology involves the use of locally baked bricks that interlock without the application of motor, water and sand.
  • It is being piloted in the construction of classrooms, water kiosks, houses, government offices and perimeter walls.
ECDE classrooms built using soil stabilised block technology at Kiini Primary School in Kitui.
NEW SKILLS: ECDE classrooms built using soil stabilised block technology at Kiini Primary School in Kitui.
Image: Musembi Nzengu

The Kitui government has adopted soil stabilised block building technology to make house construction affordable and boost local economy.

The county seeks to create jobs and wealth for residents by utilising locally available raw materials and human resource to make construction materials affordable.

Governor Charity Ngilu’s administration seeks to make construction cost effective and affordable to all through the use of interlocking bricks.

The technology involves the use of locally baked bricks that interlock without the application of motor, water and sand. It is being piloted in the construction of classrooms, water kiosks, houses, government offices and perimeter walls.

The Kitui Education, ICT and Youth development CEC Stephen Maithya on Monday said the project has been initiated in furtherance of Ngilu’s pre-election manifesto to equip youth with income-generating skills and accomplish her wealth-creation goal.

Kitui Education, ICT and Youth development CEC Stephen Maithya at Kiini Primary School on Thursday last week.
WAY TO GO Kitui Education, ICT and Youth development CEC Stephen Maithya at Kiini Primary School on Thursday last week.
Image: Musembi Nzengu

Speaking to the media in Kitui, Maithya said the project is domiciled in his docket and is being carried out under the youths training and skills development department.

He said initially, 300 youths were trained in apprenticeship to produce high-quality soil stabilised blocks.

"We want this technology cascaded to all the villages. Once the youth get skills on the ratios of the materials, quality control and the curing process, they can carry out the activity in any part of Kitui. With the skills and some cash to acquire machine, the youth are good to go," Maithya said.

"The interlocking blocks are currently being made at the Kitui County Youth Development and Enterprise Centre at Manyenyoni, which is producing 6,000 bricks daily."

The investment by the county government is meant to provide low-cost housing solutions that will serve the low and middle income earners, considering the affordability of the blocks. It also saves on time and labour.

“The youth are easily acquiring the skills to make interlocking bricks. All they need to do is scoop soil and mix with some sand, water and small amount of cement in a given ratio. The small mound for each block is compacted using a machine and left to cure for 14 days and, alas, you have a ready brick!” the executive said.

“With these bricks, you can do the walling of a house, a church or a classroom in days because you only need to pile the bricks on top of each other. With these bricks you can do a standard classroom building within one week.” 

He noted that construction experts also recommend the interlocking bricks for high-rise buildings as long as people get it right in the casting of the pillars, columns and the foundation.

"We are literally in a new building frontier where no person in our county will fail to have a brick walled house using non-affordability as an excuse.

“In fact, this technology cuts the cost of putting up a wall by half because neither water, sand nor cement in required. And because of that, less time is needed to put up a building and it in turn helps to reduce the costs of labour by a number of days,” he said.

He said that under Ngilu's instructions, the county government is using the interlocking blocks to construct 80 ECDE classrooms in all the 40 wards.

Maithya said with the technology, half of 80 earmarked ECDE classrooms have been completed or are near completion. The other half will be funded and executed in the 2021-22 financial year.

“The idea is to modernise school infrastructure and improve learning environment for better results. We are also creating job opportunities for our youth and generally creating wealth for the county,” he said.

Kiini Primary School in Nzambani of Kitui East is one such school that has benefitted from the technology. School PTA chairperson Felistus Kasyoka lauded the technology, saying it is solving infrastructural challenges in schools.

Paul Mutunga, a cleric from the area, said, “There is hope in the interlocking blocks building plan. It will save us costs and is very convenient for our building needs.”

 Ngilu has variously made calls to the people to adopt the technology for faster and cheaper housing. The interlocking blocks are being used in constructing branches of the Kitui County Textile Centre in Mwingi and Mutomo towns.

Ngilu has touted the bricks as a perfect choice for the construction industry, citing their environmental friendliness, ease of repair, durability, ability to withstand adverse weather and cost effectiveness.

-Edited by SKanyara