However, after four years of development with Structural and Chemical Engineers Ikhaya Brick Technologies (IBT) appears to have accomplished this, with their i-brick modular brick building system. Through the use of specialized IBT Nanomolecular technology the company has created a brick which not only boasts superior durability but also has added benefits allowing the use of vertical and horizontal steel reinforcement. It is also the first completely waterproof stabilised soil brick available.
According to management at the company, IBT has always been focused on providing ground-breaking building solutions for the sole purpose of social upliftment. “We provide training, qualifying people from local communities with an IBT certificate in either i-brick manufacture or building,” says Nico LeGrange.
“Upon the completion of large contracts we will sponsor IBT machinery to a group of qualified community members to continue with i-brick manufacture, building of houses, and extensions to current homes. IBT not only plans to create jobs and skills through the i-brick building system but is committed to
sustainability of these jobs and skills,” he continues.
Faster and efficient
The i-brick offers a fast, efficient brick and mortar building system providing face-brick housing at a fraction of the cost, with up to 20% savings compared with traditional systems.
Depending on the tender a finished house can be built for R1200 per square meter.
The system utilises unskilled labour and can be manufactured in remote areas using local workers.
Developed in association with Pan Mixers SA, IBT manufacturing plants are fully portable, allowing for brick
manufacture on site in remote areas.
Production can be increased at any point simply by adding additional plants and manufacturing teams.
The specially formulated resin mixture
utilises less cement and water during the
production process, however the i-Brick
has a compressive strength of 12,5 to 18
Mpa, and even after soaking for 48 hours
still achieves 12,5 Mpa. Random
Compressive strength tests are carried out
by IBT quality control officials on each
batch of i-Bricks to ensure they conform to
The IBT admixture waterproofs, plasticizes
and entrains air in dry concrete mixes. It
improves the final strength, assists in soil
stabilization and dramatically advances
the curing properties ie: shrinkage and durability. To ensure
success of the system, IBT assists in the start up aggregate
support service within the territories making sure of required
quality specifications (for instance, lab tests are done on soil
The facebrick finish has achieved increased community
acceptance due to its low maintenance requirements and
aesthetically-appealing, high quality finish.
The bricks also have superior thermalacoustic
qualities, which is of benefit to
occupants of homes constructed from this
material. Ease of building is facilitated by
the i-Bricks’ uniform size and weight,
measuring 300mm x 150mm x 100mm
and weighing about 8,5kg. These bricks
are easily bonded together with IBT
Adhesives, with reinforcing bars used at all
the corners for added quality and
Ease of building
Modular fittings and accessories further
accommodate simple construction. “IBT
window/door frames and roof beams are
designed to basically slide into place and
all electrical conduits and plumbing are
placed inside the chutes formed by stacking
the i-bricks together,” adds Nico.
“This means that no real skilled labour is
required. The first spec house was built by
myself and seven men and women who
happened to walk past the site.
“Alternative Building System companies have to spend
considerable time and money trying to convince local
communities that their systems will provide quality housing,” he
concludes. “At IBT community acceptance and empowerment is
of primary focus. There is no substitute for the quality of the
product we provide.”
Contact Person: Fanie Joubert