Load-bearing Mansory Construction System
What is LB and how it benefits home buyers?
In Malaysia, there has been a need to develop cheaper houses in a lesser duration to meet the growing demand, especially affordable housing prices for the lower income groups. According to Prof. Ir. Dr. Che Sobry Bin Abdullah, an expert in Concrete and Brickwork Technology from Universiti Utara Malaysia, “Load-bearing mansory construction system is considered one of the most pertinent agendas in the socio-economic development of the country”.
Dato’ Yap Yee Chong, Selangor Brick Factories Association, Kuala Lumpur said that “Everybody is looking for the best and cheapest method but they fail to realise that this strategy is the cheaper method when compared to building columns.”
ADVANTAGES OF THE LB MANSORY SYSTEM
The system offers several advantages as compared to the conventional Reinforced Concrete (RC) frame system. “The overall construction cost using LB masonry is much cheaper mainly due to the elimination of formwork for columns and beams as well as from the savings obtained for using raft foundations instead of piled foundations,” expressed Che Sobry.
By using clay bricks, one can save a lot of capital in the long run. “We estimated that one can save about RM200 to RM300 on electricity bills in one month if their house wall is made of clay bricks. I myself just built my own house with a double wall of clay bricks, which no one is doing anymore these days. But the result is, my house is a bit cooler and we do not need air-conditioners, just a fan keeps us nice and cool,” said Yap.
Theoretically, block-laying per square metre is cheaper than brick-laying because of its size and shorter laying time. The speed of construction using an LB wall system is faster than the RC system. This is achieved by eliminating or minimising the use of a concrete framework, a very quick start-up of wall construction and continuous construction due to the rapid strength gained from the brickwork.
For RC buildings, the proceeding construction work would have to wait until the casted concrete gains enough strength before the formwork or falsework can be dismantled. When compared to other building systems such as the prefabricated precast building system, LB brickwork can be used even for one single construction unit at any location, whether in urban or isolated rural areas. It also has the flexibility of construction to any layout required.
In terms of quality control, brickwork does not require the tedious site cube and slump tests as concrete, since the quality of bricks are pre-tested at the factory during production. A construction site using this system looks more less messy than the RC construction site.
It is a well known fact that brickwork is very durable. Plain masonry does not pose any problem if used for coastal and marine structures. Modern brickwork is strong. Thin walls can replace the thick walls that were formerly required to prevent ingress of moisture. The appearance of brickwork does not deteriorate with age. It derives from the colour texture and size of the bricks, bond and joint width.
CLAY BRICKS AND AFFORDABILITY
Affordability is the main concern being highlighted by every home buyer, especially to Generation-Y. The thought that clay bricks is more expensive is not necessarily true.
“The difference in price is actually nothing. For a normal double storey house you will use about 15,000 pieces of bricks, so if you compare the price of both bricks it is actually only RM0.10 each. In total, you might only need to pay RM1,500 more. But if you look at the bigger picture, you could save a lot later when you save on your electricity and maintenance bill,” said Yap.
He added that, “Walls made of cheaper material are easy to drill, but it is harder for clay bricks’. Even the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia prefer houses that are made of clay bricks! Clay bricks is a better fire resistant material than sand bricks. As a matter of fact, clay bricks will stand for a longer duration during fire, than sand bricks! Sand bricks will collapse faster, just imagine if it collapses?”
“Load-bearing means that the bricks carry the weight of the building,” explained Yap. Over the past few decades, this method has gone through tremendous advancement in materials, design, and construction technology. It offers several advantages in terms of cost, speed of construction, durability, aesthetics and flexibility. Despite these advantages, the system has not been widely used in Malaysia.
Find out if houses built using clay bricks increase in property value in our next issue!
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