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A new way of block making Compressed Earth Block (CEB), was introduced to the Ethiopian market at a workshop entitled “Prefabricated Concrete and Alternative Construction Materials”.
CEB which is made of different type of soils was said to be one of the least favored because it is thought that it is not water resistant. It was explained at the workshop that if the production is done with precision CEB is as good as other materials and the components that go into the production of the block are easily accessible and cost effective. This particular material is also stated to minimize wastage, use minimal labor, can be dismantled easily and can speed up construction.
“At this time of construction boom in the country, prefabricated alternative construction materials are more than relevant,” said Addis Ababa City Roads Authority Director Fekadu Haile.
CEB is a type of manufactured construction material formed in a mechanical press that forms an appropriate mix of dirt, non-expansive clay, and an aggregate into a compressed block. Creating CEBs differs from rammed earth in that the latter uses a larger formwork into which earth is poured and tamped down, creating larger forms such as a whole wall or more at one time. There is no use of mortar in the traditional sense.
In accordance with the third anniversary of the American Cement Institute (ACI) Ethiopian Chapter, ACI organized the half day workshop where a number of companies involved in the construction sector participated.
The workshop that was held on Thursday, April 4th 2013 at the Hilton Hotel also heard presentations from different ACI member companies on different kinds of construction systems and materials which some include prefabricated concrete system for housing and public buildings in Ethiopia and Portland Limestone Cement properties and application.
Fekadu Haile said that ACI Ethiopian Chapter has accomplished a lot in a very short time through providing such discussion stages and bringing construction companies together.
“There is a lack of high performance concrete on the market,” he stated and underlined the need for quality control manuals for production companies. He also stated that the need for construction professionals as well as a strict safety and quality control on buildings that are under construction all over the country is very much necessary.
The different presentations gave insights into different building materials, their advantages and weaknesses in performance when they are used. Portland Limestone Cement was stated to have low production cost than other kinds of cements as well as being environmental friendly. Mussie Hagos, a Chemist at Messebo cement factory suggested that the production of this particular cement will also contribute to saving foreign currency as it does not need any kind of imported source of energy to be produced.
Other presentation done at the workshop also focused on areas such as light weight cement fiber construction boards, specifications and applications of Magnesium panels as well as current status of the Ethiopian building codes and standard revision.