Interlocking blocks can solve Kenya’s housing woes

A soil block press. Photo/Makiga

A soil block press. Photo/Makiga

Makiga interlocking blocks are set to revolutionise the construction of low cost homes in Kenya, as more builders embrace the innovative technology that lowers building costs by 60 per cent.

The technology by Makiga Engineering Services Ltd., a private firm that offers low-cost housing solutions, involves the production of bricks that interlock with each other during construction – therefore eliminating the need for mortar to bind the building.

The interlocking blocks are made using a soil block press (SBP) machine that compresses a mixture of sifted soil (the main raw material), water and cement to produce solid building blocks.

Cement, which makes up three per cent of the blocks, is mixed with any type of soil (except black cotton soil) and water. The mixture is then compressed to produce interlocking stabilised blocks for building.

READ: The scramble for Kenya’s prefab housing market

Cement to soil ratio varies according to soil type and can be determined by testing the soil for shrinkage.

The SBP machine, which retails at about Sh100,000, is manually operated and can produce 400-500 blocks a day – each costing Sh12. The company is, however, looking at the possibility of motorising the machines.

“All blocks are tested for strength and durability by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the University of Bath, UK; [and] results show that blocks made with Makiga machines are 82 percent stronger than a clay-fired brick,” the firm says on its website.

Makiga is one of the many local and foreign companies that have invested heavily in the provision of low cost housing solutions to low and middle income Kenyans who are in dire need of affordable housing.

Others include the National Housing Corporation (NHC), Mabati Rolling Mills, US-based International Green Structures (IGS) and China’s Blue Sky International.

READ: NHC’s bold plan for affordable housing in Kenya

NHC has invested Sh1 billion in the construction of a prefabs factory in Machakos County, with a capacity to produce 126,720 expanded polystyrene panels a year.

IGS has unveiled a Sh851,400 two-bedroom house built using panels made from compressed wheat husks targeting low income earners, while Blue Sky is looking to build a Sh1 billion prefabs factory in Athi River.

2 Responses to "Interlocking blocks can solve Kenya’s housing woes"

  1. santino says:

    Quite impressive products. I am interested in the interlocking brick making machine. I wish I could get quotations for it. Do you offer basic training in the use of the machine and construction? I’m in Uganda.

  2. mwesigye enoch says:

    I would like to buy the block making machine. I’ve heard and read about Makiga but where do I find u in Kampala? Thanks.

Post Your Comment

Submit Comment

Copyright 2007-2016 by Samscom Media. All rights reserved | Use of this website constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy and Disclaimer.