Attitudes towards earth building for Zambian housing provision
journal contributionposted on 23.10.2008, 08:00 by Karim Hadjri, Mohamed Osmani, Bousmaha Baiche, Charles Chifunda
Zambian cities are experiencing a massive influx of people from rural areas resulting in high demand for housing and the growth of squatter settlements. Insufficient use of low-cost traditional construction techniques in the Zambian residential construction industry has resulted in expensive housing stock for the majority of the poor. There is therefore an urgent need to assess alternative building materials and techniques that are both affordable and sustainable. This research examines the viability of earth as a building material and associated construction techniques for urban housing provision in Zambia. Attitudes towards earth building among end-users, designers, contractors and government regulators were assessed using quantitative and qualitative research approaches. The study concludes that urban residents associate earth houses with poverty and low socio-cultural status; construction professionals are reluctant to specify and select earth materials due to their technical and performance limitations; and government regulators acknowledged that there are currently no appropriate earth building standards and codes in place. Nevertheless, Zambian designers and contractors expressed their willingness to use the material if its performance is improved. Furthermore, government reported that new codes of practice and standards could be developed if stimulated by research findings.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering