Saftra’s Solbric dry-stacking technology makes rapid and economical brick production possible.
Community involvement in brick production is also possible, says Saftra Houses MD Serge d’Almeida, adding that another advantage is that the bricks are made onsite, avoiding transport costs and the risks of breakage and loss.
The contract for the Soul City development was awarded last year, and a factory – equipped with ten SC4 machines – was established near the building site.
About 30 000 bricks can be produced a day.
The factory employs about 300 locals, of whom 55% are women.
“The Solbric building method is swift and user-friendly,” says d’Almeida. “Because the bricks interlock with each other, little cement is required for the construction of a house,” he adds. The shape of the bricks is designed to give a face-brick effect and to allow electric cables to pass through the wall, making chiselling unnecessary.
“A qualified bricklayer is only required to lay the first level of bricks, and the rest of the job can be done by unskilled workers under supervision,” says d’Almeida. “The population around the area can therefore get involved in the construction of the houses and acquire a certain skill when completing the job,” he adds.
The bricks are a mix of mainly soil and a small amount of cement and Clayfix – a clay stabiliser produced by the company – which is then compressed at an average pressure of 15 bar, giving the bricks a strength of at least 5 MPa.
“Bricks produced by Solbric machines are of impressive quality and set high standards in the low- and medium-cost housing industry,” claims d’Almeida. “Because of their density, they insulate both the heat and the chill of South African weather,” he adds. The company manufactures dry-stacking block machines and stock-brick machines. The stock-brick machines can produce up to 45 000 bricks a day.