Research Scientist advocates use of local building materials

BY: Samuel Duodu
A building constructed with burnt bricks
A building constructed with burnt bricks

A senior research scientist at the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI), Dr Joseph A. Danquah, has advocated the use of local building materials to reduce carbon emissions.

That, he said, would also drive the economy by reducing the country's dependence on foreign imports and concrete products.

Dr Danquah, who is also the Deputy Coordinator for the National Artisan Training Centre ( NATC), made the suggestion in an interview with the Daily Graphic during a visit to Jimam Company Limited, manufacturers of burnt bricks and tiles at Ekumfi Akoti in the Central Region.

The visit was to inspect the facility earmarked as a training centre for artisans in the construction industry for the Central, Western and Greater Accra regions to upgrade their knowledge of the use of local building materials.

Reducing carbon emissions

Dr Danquah, also an architect, urged Ghanaians to begin to rely on local building materials such as burnt bricks for the construction of their homes as a way of helping to combat climate change and reduce the over dependence on cement and its related products.

“Apart from the burnt bricks we can also explore hydroforms, compressed earth bricks or even Adobe bricks", he said.

“In Ghana, when you go to the north why don't we use the Adobe and the compressed earth bricks which is in abundance and proven", he questioned.

He cited South Africa as an example where they are using the local building materials a lot in their housing and asked, “why are we discarding it and still go for the normal cement blocks."

Dr Danquah noted that Ghanaian bricks, bamboo, compressed earth bricks and other local building materials are the way to go because now "we are talking about going back to green building materials."

He stressed the need for continuous upgrading of the skills of professionals, especially architects and engineers when it comes to the use, design and in the building of local raw materials.

The Executive Director of Jimam company limited , Moyna Nyankah, expressed appreciation to BRRI for their partnership with the company to train artisans in Central, Western and Greater Accra regions on the use of local building materials, especially clay burnt bricks and pozollana cement.

" Not only will the promotion of local building materials create numerous employment opportunities but also will reduce the pressure on foreign currencies since the materials are all found in our local environment," she said.

Mrs Nyankah said the training and certifying local artisans on the use of local materials was a great innovation in the construction industry.