Why Every Construction Project Should Consider Using Concrete Blocks in Bangladesh
Before the dawn of civilization, humankind’s struggle for survival was never-ending. In order to ensure safety, humans have tried to take shelter under robust and rigid structures. Long before humans started creating shelter for themselves, their only options were God-given structures like caves or trees. As our knowledge and experiences got more affluent, we started making safe places to reside in what we call home.
Currently, there are various materials available for building homes and other structures. Concrete, steel, wood, masonry, and stone are the most common materials of choice. With the progress of technology, the advantages of using concrete blocks have become much more conspicuous. Large construction projects use concrete blocks instead of traditional clay bricks. Using concrete blocks is a faster and more effective method of building a sturdy structure that turns into a house. Furthermore, clay bricks pose great environmental harm, whereas concrete blocks have minimal impact on the environment.
Advantages of Concrete Blocks
The following list contains some key factors that have made concrete blocks the priority for most engineers and architects.
Low-maintenance Houses in High-moisture Locations
High precipitation levels can damage the structural integrity of buildings that use traditional materials like clay bricks. Concrete blocks are becoming very common in areas with higher rainfall like Bangladesh. Bangladesh witnessed one of the highest rainfalls globally, averaging about 2666 mm/year due to its geolocation and environmental factors according to Climates to Travel. So, the advantages of using concrete blocks in Bangladesh are many. Concrete blocks do not attract mold or mildew like wooden frames. If wooden structures remain wet for a long time, their structural integrity degrades rapidly.
Some other benefits of concrete blocks include resistance to pests and germs. Pests can severely hamper the structure of walls that receives moisture continuously or is exposed to precipitation. Termites and rodents usually cannot penetrate through concrete blocks. So, homeowners require low maintenance costs as concrete blocks can sustain their original structural integrity for decades.
Resistance to Strong Winds
Many locations in the world suffer from natural calamities. From the Great Plains to the Mississippi Valley of North America to Europe, South Africa, the Philippines, and Bangladesh, tornados can strike these areas with mother nature’s violent force. Wind speed can reach 100 km/h to 400 km/h depending on the conditions. Due to the geographical location of Bangladesh, tornadoes are a widespread incident, sometimes hitting the land more than six times a year. Houses built from concrete blocks are beneficial in areas prone to strong winds. Its structure and materials create a natural shield against tropical storms and tornadoes. Concrete block structures can withstand wind speeds of around 380 km/h. If proper protocols are maintained while building structures using concrete blocks, they can easily last for centuries without much maintenance. So, concrete block houses are beneficial in Bangladesh.
Adding rebar and other reinforcement products can increase the structural integrity of concrete blocks by manifolds.
High Thermal Mass and Fire Resistance
Accidents can occur anytime, and it is always better to be safe than sorry. Fire can engulf anything in its path, and the aftermath of a devastating fire is never imaginable. However, structures built using concrete blocks can resist fire damage due to their materialistic nature. Concrete itself is not flammable. However, wooden frames cannot survive fire, and they can brutally compromise structural integrity. Fire resistance is one of the most important advantages of concrete blocks.
For such properties of concrete blocks, they are used in regions that witness frequent wildfires. It is an excellent way of protecting property even if the homeowner lives in a risky environment prone to wildfires. ASTM E119 fire rating can be achieved with concrete blocks when safety protocols are followed, double the coding requirement in many regions. Concrete blocks can withstand fire for an extended period without losing shape and preserving structural integrity. Furthermore, even if concrete blocks get damaged due to extreme fire, they are easy to repair and recycle.
High Energy Efficiency
Houses built using concrete blocks are ideal choices for people who want to lower their carbon footprint. In other words, concrete block homes are considered one of the most environmentally friendly homes. Concrete blocks provide excellent thermal insulation due to their materialistic properties. Hence, cold air from an air conditioner or warm air from room heaters cannot escape from inside rooms. As a result, energy bills can be 20% lower than average. Concrete blocks are very dense and lose heat over a long period. Moreover, its insulative properties can be further increased by using additional layers.
The highest level of fabric energy efficiency can only be achieved by using concrete blocks as a building material. Using high-quality concrete blocks can ensure minimal thermal bridging and longstanding airtightness. It gets scorching in Bangladesh during the summer season, especially in Dhaka. Houses that use concrete blocks stay comparatively cooler than traditional clay brick foundations. Since air conditioners are becoming common in Dhaka, the benefits of concrete blocks will allow Dhaka dwellers to decrease their electricity bills.
Excellent Acoustic Performance
Advanced level sound insulation can be achieved by adequately installing concrete block walls and floors. This property is achieved due to concrete blocks’ natural mass and damping factors. Noise isolation is critical in apartment buildings where numerous apartments are closely packed, and sound can easily leak. Furthermore, buildings close to busy roads or metro rails suffer from terrible outside noise. Using concrete blocks lessens such issues as concrete block homes are practically soundproof. So, concrete block homes provide fantastic soundproofing in urban areas, especially near airports where commercial aircraft noise can disturb residents. According to research, more than 75% of outside noise can be blocked using concrete walls, and this figure can be further improved by implementing double-pane windows according to NCMA
Concrete block homes are becoming the favorite building blocks for millennials as they provide superb soundproofing and cost-efficiency. A group of people can throw parties and make noise inside while not disturbing neighbors. Living in concrete block homes can provide comfort for many people in Dhaka who live near busy streets and the airport.
Healthy Atmosphere for Habitants and Less Impact on the Environment
People spend most of their time inside their homes. It is where they feel the most comfortable and spend precious time with their loved ones. Naturally, everyone wants their home to be free of germs and diseases. One of the significant advantages of concrete blocks is blocking allergens, radon, and other toxins. So, it provides safer and healthier living spaces for people. After applying moisture barriers to concrete blocks, they can prevent any damp spot, even if the walls get exposed to water for an extended period.
Using concrete blocks also causes less harm to the environment. Even though clay is abundant on Earth and naturally available, the acquiring process diminishes soil characteristics. Manufacturing clay bricks poses severe damage to the environment by releasing massive CO2. Furthermore, the curing process requires more water. However, concrete blocks are machine-made and require less water, and emit less CO2 in their manufacturing process.
Source: The Daily Star
Concrete Blocks can be Manufactured Off-site
Concrete blocks have uniform size and shape. So, large construction projects can finish their project without consuming much time as the walls of concrete blocks can be manufactured elsewhere. It is beneficial where rapid construction is prioritized. Furthermore, laborers with minimal skills can work with hollow concrete blocks.
Concrete blocks can be used as a precast or tilt-up method, and the stacking method is more popular everywhere. Large apartment projects opt for concrete blocks as factory-built concrete blocks offer a high insulation standard, steel reinforcement, and aesthetic values. Usually, cranes build walls of concrete blocks that link with the existing foundation, and the whole structure gets connected.
Greater Earthquake Resistance
One of the most important advantages of concrete blocks is their greater earthquake resistance capacity. The hollow concrete blocks show this superior feature due to their design elements. Since hollow concrete blocks are lightweight, they add minimal load to the whole building structure and provide a stable foundation that is resilient against natural calamities like earthquakes. Concrete block homes offer a haven for people who reside in earthquake-prone areas.
Concrete blocks’ uniformity and interlocking capabilities provide them with the strength to withstand the earthquake load. However, steel bar reinforcement is required, and concrete blocks to get maximum performance in critical situations. Bangladesh sits atop the world’s largest river delta and at the juncture of several active tectonic plates that puts the country in a very vulnerable position. Experts fear a massive earthquake is only due in time in Bangladesh. So, it is of paramount importance that houses in Bangladesh are built using proper earthquake-resistant codes.
Moreover, even if an earthquake strikes, concrete block houses are easier to repair and rebuild. Repairs can be focused on restoring the roof, windows, and interior, as most walls should remain unharmed.
Flexible Design Choices
Concrete blocks can be custom-made to fit the choice of homeowners while keeping the same structural integrity. The surface of concrete blocks can be made rough or smooth according to preference. They can be painted with a myriad of colors and numerous surface textures. Its versatility in design and aesthetics have made concrete blocks brilliant indoor and outdoor use choices.
Why Concrete Blocks are Becoming Designer’s First Choice
As mentioned earlier, there are numerous benefits of concrete blocks. It provides more value than traditional red bricks, even though red bricks are cheap and more readily available. Environmentalists have suggested that red bricks cause more harm to the environment than concrete blocks. Researchers are working to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete blocks by greenifying the manufacturing process. The industry is also adamant about pursuing eco-friendly methods for manufacturing concrete blocks. Engineers and architects are also inventing ways to reuse and recycle concrete blocks to reduce their environmental impacts.
People realize the many benefits of concrete blocks and opt for them over the traditional method. Architects love to implement concrete blocks in their designs as it can offer more flexibility in designing and functioning aspects of the building. Furthermore, concrete blocks can be used in interior designing and also as furniture. Different categories of concrete blocks can be arranged together to create benches, couches, and even vases and tables that offer an incredible industrial look. For reducing environmental impact, designers love to take the opportunity to reuse old concrete blocks in interior design to complement the overall theme of the house. Even though the initial cost is still higher, lower energy costs and low maintenance make concrete blocks the best building material in the long term.
Concrete block homes are already famous worldwide, and they are slowly making their way here in Bangladesh. People are considering the advantages of concrete blocks over traditional red bricks. It is an eco-friendly approach to making one’s living arrangement. People invest in property to live in it and leave a legacy for their future generations. Concrete block homes provide that opportunity as it promises to last for centuries while delivering the most efficient solution for homeowners.
Mir Concrete Block manufactures high-standard concrete blocks. The company uses the most advanced technologies to produce high-quality concrete blocks that are much more durable than the competition. These blocks can provide lifelong service without much degradation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are concrete blocks waterproof?
Ans: No. Standard concrete blocks are not waterproof as water can flow through them easily.
Can you lay concrete blocks in the rain?
Ans: It is not advisable to wet the blocks before installing them. So, you should not lay the blocks in the rain.
What is the price of concrete blocks?
Ans: Generally, solid concrete blocks come in two colors. The gray block price range is 12 – 14 TK per piece, and the red block price range is 14 – 16 TK per piece. However, hollow concrete blocks come in different sizes and shapes according to specific requirements. Its price will vary depending on various factors.
Should I use red bricks or hollow concrete blocks?
Ans: It will depend on your requirements. However, hollow concrete blocks will provide the best economical and effective solution in almost every situation.
Can termites damage concrete block homes?
Ans: Concrete blocks are unaffected by termites. So, they cannot damage concrete block homes.