|The Use of Selected Indigenous Building Materials with Potential for Wide Application in Developing Countries (HABITAT, 1985, 80 p.)|
The high cost and insufficient supply of building materials in developing countries is partly a consequence of the dependence on imports. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) has, for a long time, been dealing with the subject of promoting the building materials sector, on principles of import-substitution and self-sufficiency. In general, this calls for a rapid expansion in production of indigenous building materials. Most countries possess the basic inputs required for production of an array of indigenous building materials: raw materials, labour, basic tools and energy. However, these potentials are yet to be translated into actual commercial-scale production. In several countries, some indigenous materials are being produced but not in sufficient quantities and sometimes at costs which are not competitive with imported materials.
While there are opportunities to promote the wide-scale use of indigenous building materials, this can only be realized if certain constraints are eliminated through the adoption of a specific set of measures. This report examines the factors which act as constraints to the production and use of indigenous building materials and identifies measures which can be undertaken to overcome the constraints.
With regard to shelter delivery for the low-income population, accessibility to basic building materials in sufficient quantities and at affordable costs is of key importance and one of the most dominant issues to be tackled. This report, therefore, fulfils one of the goals of the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless by providing decision-makers in developing countries a basis on which to undertake reforms in the building materials sector.
I hope that the measures identified in this report as well as the illustrations of successful country case studies in the field of indigenous building materials production, will be useful in providing a framework for governments to attain local capacity in fulfilling the demands of the low income population for building materials.
Dr. Arcot Ramachandran
Under-Secretary-General Executive Director