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Sunday,September 22,2019 19:03 PM

Save by making your own bricks

By Mathias Mazinga

Added 19th March 2019 11:28 AM

To produce 10,000 bricks (made from normal soil), which cost sh1,800,000. You will thus have saved sh1, 150,000

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Kiwanuka demonstrates how to use a wooden brick-sharper. Photos by Mathias Mazinga

To produce 10,000 bricks (made from normal soil), which cost sh1,800,000. You will thus have saved sh1, 150,000

The cost of bricks should not scare you if you want to put up a building. You can actually make your own bricks and save some money. Making bricks is not a complicated process, as Vincent Kiwanuka, who has been in the trade for close to eight years, explains.

Step 1

Excavate the soil (normal soil or clay) and bring it together to mix it with water.

The following day, add more water into the same soil as you squash it with your feet. Cover it with grass, or dry banana leaves for a week, two weeks or even a month, to protect it from possible rains and sunshine.

During this period, the soil loses all the vapor and crystals. You then once again apply water to the soil/clay and squash it, until it becomes soft and slippery.

Carry it to a convenient place and start to make the bricks, using a wooden brick-shaper.

After making the bricks, place them on the ground, horizontally. Cover them with grass, to protect them from rain or excessive sunshine, which may cause them to crack.

After two or three days, turn them vertically, so that they can dry thoroughly. This takes between four and five days.

Step 2

Arrange the bricks in columns of 3x5, or 4x7.  You then cover them with grass or polythene. Putting the bricks together, in columns (locally known as omusingi), makes it more convenient for you to cover them up with grass/polyethylene as they continue to dry-up.

 oung men arranging a brickstack Young men arranging a brick-stack

 
Step 3

After the bricks have dried up, you arrange them into a stack for burning. A stack can have as many as 10,000, 20,000 or 35,000 bricks, or even more.

To burn a stack of 10,000 bricks, you need firewood worth sh600,000 (four Elf trucks). But firewood that burns 10,000 bricks is also enough to burn 15,000.

Firewood that burns 20,000 bricks can also burn 30,000 bricks.

So, the more bricks you put on a stack, the more savings you make in terms of fire-wood costs.

Costs

Kiwanuka explains that there are other costs involved in making bricks. For example, you need to hire land if you don’t have it.

This may cost you sh200,000. You also have to hire a brick-maker in case you have no expertise in the trade. A brick-maker can charge you about sh800,000, to produce 10,000 bricks.

rying claybricks covered with grassDrying clay-bricks covered with grass

 
Price of bricks

A clay brick currently costs sh270, while the one made from soil costs sh180.

How savings are made

A person who makes their own bricks will be in a better position to save money than the one who buys ready ones.

For instance, you may require just sh500,000 (for firewood) and sh150,000 (renting land), to produce 10,000 bricks (made from normal soil), which cost sh1,800,000. You will thus have saved sh1, 150,000. For the clay-bricks, you will be able to save at least sh1.4m per 10,000 bricks.

If you hired a brick-maker, the respective savings would be reduced by about sh700,000. You will thus save about sh450,000 per 10,000 bricks ( soil) and sh700,000 per 10,000 clay bricks.

In any case, having your own land, or possessing skills to make bricks, will ultimately determine the savings you make.

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