Constraints to tile dissemination and utilization of fibre concrete roofing tile and stabilized soil block technologies in Kenya
The shortage of decent housing is a problem that many Kenyans, especially the low income households in both the rural and urban areas, are confronted with. The research in and development of appropriate building materials that are cheaper than conventional building materials is one of the ways in which governments have tried to provide more housing at prices that are affordable to the majority of those who need these houses.So far the development of appropriate building materials like fiber concrete roofing tiles and stabilized soil blocks that are relatively cheaper than concrete blocks. concrete tiles. burnt clay bricks and tiles, among others has been successfully carried out. This research and development has been carried out by local institutions and organizations in conjunction with international donor and research agencies. Despite these successes in the research and development of appropriate building materials. the dissemination of these materials to the general public and those who need better housing at reasonable costs has not been successful. Appropriate building materials are not being produced and utilized on a scale comparable to that of the relatively more expensive conventional building materials. This study is aimed at finding out the constraints to the widespread dissemination.production and use of stabilized soil blocks and fiber concrete roofing tiles in Kenya and how such obstacles can be overcome. In order to identify these constraints the researcher interviewed officials of various organizations and individuals who are directly or indirectly concerned with the populations, production and use of FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks. VI This was done through the use of questionnaires and face to face discussions. Those interviewed include the following i) . Organizations or institutions involved in the promotion and popularization of FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks. This was carried out in order to identify what constraints hinder the effective dissemination of FCR tile and stabilized soil block technologies. ii) Developers of housing or sponsors of community facilities like schools and churches which have been built using FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks. iii) Small scale producers of FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks and small scale producers of concrete blocks and concrete tiles. iv) A few architects and "fundis" or builders were interviewed by the researcher in order to shed more light on specific problems which may occur during the construction of a building when using FCR tiles and/or stabilized soil blocks. v) The Chief Architect in the Ministry of Public Works and Housing and the Principal Standards Officer in the Kenya Bureau of Standards were interviewed in order to find out the official government position with respect to the use of FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks and the ~~~~tion of standards and specifications for the same . .". vi) Occupants of housing which has been constructed using FCR tiles and/or stabilized soil blocks in Nyahururu, Riruta and Komarock in Nairobi. This user reaction survey aimed at assessing how acceptable FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks were to the users and potential users.In addition to these interviews, the researcher visited and surveyed 7 different building projects where FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks have been used. This aimed at recording Vll the physical condition of the FCR tile roofs and stabilized soil block walls since this is a good indicator of how durable the building materials are. The constraints to the dissemination and use of FeR tiles and stabilized soil blocks that were identified by this study include the following; a) Lack of adequate funds for the organizations promoting the use of FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks to effectively do so and the fact that so many organizations are involved in promoting the use of these two building materials without proper coordination of these efforts. b) Lack of widespread demand and ready markets for the finished FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks; hence small scale producers of these two building materials have little hope for growth and expansion. This problem is compounded by the fact that small scale producers of FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks have limited access to credit facilities from financial institutions. c) Lack of adequate skills on the part of artisans who an~ involved in the construction of buildings using FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks. Their ignorance of the basic differences between'~'FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks on the one hand and the conventional concrete blocks and concrete tiles often leads to failures of buildings which are blamed on the materials rather than the faulty workmanship. d) Lack of widespread awareness by the general public of the properties and advantages of FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks when compared to conventional building materials. Total acceptability of FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks by many Kenyans VIII has yet to be achieved because of personal tastes and preferences which are in favor of conventional building materials. e) For potential users, questions about the durability of these two materials still linger especially since some of the demonstration projects where these building materials have been used have not helped sensitize the general public to fully accept FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks. The study is divided into five chapters. The first chapter contains the problem statement, objectives of the study, hypothesis, scope and Imitations of study and the methodology. The second chapter is devoted to a detailed description of fiber concrete roofing tile and stabilized soil block technologies and their advantages and disadvantages when compared to conventional building materials. This chapter also contains a review of related literature on what problems are faced in the promotion of appropriate building materials in countries like Kenya and how such problems could be overcome to promote widespread use of newly developed appropriate building materials given their advantages over conventional building materials. The third chapter focuses mainly on the historical development and spread of stabilized soil block and fiber concrete roofing rile technologies in Kenya. This chapter also contains a detailed account of the main organizations and institutions that are involved in the research, development and dissemination of stabilized soil block and fiber concrete roofing tile technologies. The fourth chapter contains the findings of the study. This can basically be referred to 'as the constraints to the dissemination and utilization of stabilized soil blocks and fiber IX concrete roofing tiles 111 Kenya. These constraints that were identified can be put into the following groups; i) Problems encountered by the organizations that promote the use of stabilized soil blocks and FCR tiles. ii) Factors that hinder the widespread commercial production of FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks. iii) Difficulties that are encountered when constructing buildings using FCR tiles and/or stabilized soil blocks. iv) Problems that are inherent in these building materials themselves, re, doubts about their durability. v) Lack of social acceptability, i e, FCR tiles and stabilized soil blocks are still not popular building materials. The fifth and final chapter contains the conclusions and recommendations of the study.