|Journal of the Network of African Countries on Local Building Materials and Technologies - Volume 3, Number 2 (HABITAT, 1994, 42 p.)|
Over the past eighteen years or so, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) has attached considerable importance to the building-materials sector in its efforts to find solutions to the worsening shelter crisis in most developing countries. As part of these efforts, the Centre has been promoting the development of small-scale building-materials production which use innovative and appropriate technologies based on local resources. The experience of the Centre and many other institutions worldwide has shown that durable, good quality and affordable materials can be produced easily if improved and innovative technologies are applied and if adequate marketing strategies are implemented so that people would feel confident to use these materials in their housing construction.
The importance of applying small-scale and appropriate technologies in the low-cost housing construction has been reflected in the Habitat Agenda adopted by the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II). The Agenda, among others, is emphasizing the need for increased utilization of locally-produced materials so as to make the construction outputs affordable to low-income population.
It is in this context that the Network of African Countries on Local Building Materials and Technologies has been established to address some of the serious problems of shelter delivery through adequate and improved production and use of local building materials. Its objective is to strengthen local technological capacity and its journal seeks to compile and disseminate technological information, so that countries and individuals which need them can have access to available technologies in different countries.
As most of the readers might be aware, so far, each issue of this series of Journal has been devoted to a selected topic such as walling materials, low-cost binders, low-cost roofing materials, etc. The topic selected for this issue is: fibre concrete roofing (FCR). In addition to an article which describes the FCR technology, a case study of Kenya - in which a large-scale public-sector housing project has used fibre-concrete roofing tiles - has also been included so as to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of such alternative roofing material, especially, for mass housing schemes.
It is hoped that the contents of this Journal would be of interest to the readers and we look forward to receive any feed-back or suggestions.
The efforts of Mr. Baris Der-Petrossian of the UNCHS (Habitat) Research and Development Division in drafting, compiling and processing papers and finalizing this issue of Journal is thankfully acknowledged.
Dr. Wally N'Dow
A woman preparing concrete mix for producing FCR tiles - Courtesy Africa Housing Fund