Hollow blocks rather than bricks reduce building costs 25pc

Dhaka, Dec 20 – The cost of building construction could be brought down by 25 per cent through using eco-friendly materials like hollow block instead of traditional bricks, said a study of House Building Research Institute (HBRI). The study titled “The cost-benefit analysis of using hollow-blocks in modern building” was conducted by the HBRI in recent months.
According to the study, countries like China, Vietnam and Indonesia have already started to use a combination of sand, cement and stone-made block instead of traditional brick to reduce harmful environmental impact.
‘The blocks are made of river sand along with cement and small pieces of stones,” said Akhter Hossain Sarkar, an HBRI senior research officer, “There is no requirement to burn such block. That’s why the block is environment-friendly.”
Sound and heat protection capacity of the blocks is higher than the traditional bricks. Light in weight, saline and humidity protective nature of the block ensures longevity, Sarkar said.
He said that the cost of building construction could be brought down 25 per cent by using these hollow blocks instead of traditional bricks.
“Each piece of hollow block costs Tk 30-Tk 35. A piece of hollow Block is 4.5 times bigger than traditional brick. So it will reduce the construction cost,” he said.
A number of local builders have already started using blocks for building construction. As many as 20 block factories are already been setup. Concord, one of the top real estate companies is at the forefront in using hollow block and has been using block since 1998.
Concord general managing Shamir Uddin Ahmed said, “Concord use Hollow Block in all the buildings which we build. So far, such blocks were used in 500 buildings of Concord.”
A factory named Conpack has been set up in Ashulia. Initially, the cost for blocks was comparatively high rather than bricks but the situation has changed now, he said.
Cost for a piece of a block is Tk 35, while the cost of the same quantity of bricks is Tk10- Tk15 higher than the blocks. Besides, it also saves other ingredients like cement and sands which are required for wall plastering. Traditional bricks, however, is yet used in most of the building construction mainly due to lack of awareness and knowledge among the people.
Bangladesh Brick Manufacturer Owners Association president Mizanur Rahman Babul said they are aware of the use of blocks instead of traditional bricks.
“But the low demand for blocks is still a big problem as the majority of the people use bricks for building construction. Block is yet to be used in government’s development projects that refraining brick manufacturers from starting block production,” he said.
He also informed that they have recently visited such a project in India and they were given a machine for making blocks at free of cost. For collecting required fly ash for test production an application was sent to the power ministry through environment ministry.
“We are yet to get any reply from the power ministry even after several months of the application. We could not start production just because of fly ash crisis,” Mizanur said. – Staff Reporter