26 C
City of Banjul
Sunday, September 27, 2020

US-based Gambian maps out ambitious path for construction industry revolution

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“The goal is to revolutionise how we do construction in The Gambia. When I look at the construction industry in this country I understand that everything that is being used is being imported from cement to corrugate and a lot of people can’t afford the cost of building a house as a result. So before I came here, I decided to look into what is possible. And I came to realise that we have lots of clay deposits and I also came to realise that there is meteorite dust that could be used. And when I started looking into the possibility of using compressed blocks, I realised that one of our buildings at the University of Kansas was built using the same method and that building has been standing since 1941 to this day. What we want is for everything to be involved in the construction to be from The Gambia. And these blocks are even more suitable to cement in terms of the hot climate in The Gambia. If you go to Sandale resort in Kartong you don’t even need AC in their houses because they are always cool because they have used compressed earth blocks for their houses. 

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“Actually the blocks are stronger than cement blocks. One can build an entire estate using only these compressed blocks and it is even more beautiful than the cement. The machines that make these blocks are just a simple lever system. I want everybody to be able to build their own home because all you need is go to your back yard and use the clay there and easily build these houses with just 7% of cement. We also want to make these compressed machines readily available to youths.” 

He said construction companies in the Neighbouring Senegal and Kenya are applying the method and urged the government to make it a policy for all its institutions and schools to be built using compressed blocks saying “it has so many environmental and socio-economic benefits”. 

Susso said he is also working with officials from the Ministry of Health in building some trekking stations using compressed blocks if he secure the required funding from his “potential donors”.     

“I want the government to make this a policy that from now on each government building or school they are to build is going to be done using this compressed mud blocks. Because what that will do is setting standard as to how houses are going to be built. I have been talking to officials from the ministry of health and I am working with them on trying to see what I can do in building some structures for community health centers also call Trekking Stations or RHC stations. 

“This is stronger than cement and it is completely natural except for the 7% cement that is going to be there. Let us look into Kenya. This is creating employment there and changing how people build there. Environmentally it is also very good because you don’t have to cut down trees to fire these blocks. And in Senegal they have built a thousand homes using compressed blocks- a whole estate. Right now KinInitiative does everything because I have contractors that are working with me and want to make this happen. My goal is to start it with The Gambia and then to the rest of Africa.” 

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