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A person’s home is more than just a place to sleep and store personal belongings. It’s a representation of who they are, what their place is in society.  Because of this, a home must be created with care and consideration that acknowledges the dignity that is owed. 

Corobrik understands the connection between quality products and the respect for a home, which is why the demand for its face brick range continues to soar in the affordable housing sector. 

“The successful construction of affordable housing developments across the country has cemented Corobrik’s relationship with government as a supplier of high-quality material that comes with economic, environmental and social benefits,” said Corobrik’s commercial director, Musa Shangase. “Looking purely at the aesthetic aspect, the clay face brick range is universally acknowledged as an aspirational product, evoking inspired feelings of comfort and satisfaction for homeowners.”

Corobrik’s contribution to affordable housing

Anyone who has been a recipient of one of Corobrik’s affordable homes can attest to this. Working closely with government departments and leaders within rural communities, Corobrik is committed to fulfilling the Constitutional mandate that outlines that every citizen has a right to adequate housing. 

Being a leading supplier of face bricks for affordable housing developments, Corobrik is meeting government requirements of dependable, attractive structures for projects by delivering the highest quality product. In the past year alone, Corobrik has supplied millions of bricks to affordable housing developments countrywide, among them:

• Corobrik Moroccan Red Travertine face bricks for Platinum Manor, a Central Development Projects affordable housing scheme in Pretoria.

• A range of Corobrik products – Burnt Apricot and Montana Travertine face bricks, plus plaster bricks, geolok and pavers used in the construction of one of South Africa’s biggest social housing developments, Aloe Ridge in Pietermaritzburg.

• Moroccan Red Travertine Nebraska Travertine face bricks used in the construction of The Junction @ Forest Hill, Pretoria, a 440-unit affordable housing `complex by Central Developments. 

• Another Central Developments project saw Nebraska Travertine and Classic Satin face bricks used in the construction of Eldoraigne Retirement Village, Pretoria.

The benefits of Corobrik’s clay face brick

Shangase said the organisation was committed to adding value to the affordable and entry-level housing markets where there was little disposable income for maintenance. 

“Corobrik has specifically designed the CoroJem face brick for the affordable development’s market,” explained Shangase. “It fills the need for a product that is visually appealing, economical and long-lasting with all the other associated benefits of face brick. More importantly, it fits the criteria of creating a finished product where people would aspire to live!”

CoroJem is twice the width of a standard brick and laid as a single skin. This means it offers a solution that is applicable across a wide spectrum, from low-cost subsidised housing to gap and the affordable housing arenas.

“Corobrik’s CoroJem face bricks were a response to government’s call for quality, inexpensive and maintenance-free houses,” continued Shangase. “Double skin walling is more expensive in the wall than CoroJem’s through the wall format. This means savings on mortar and labour, reducing the overall costs of CoroJem construction. In a relatively short period of time, we have seen the CoroJem emerge as a frontrunner for the holistic solution it affords.”

All Corobrik face bricks are extremely cost-effective as they don’t need to be plastered or painted. This saves on future maintenance costs, particularly important in the affordable housing market. 

Face brick also has incredible thermal efficiency which enables the building to store heat and remain cooler for longer than lightweight structures. It deals efficiently with extremes of temperature in both summer and winter so that, regardless of how hot it becomes outside in the daytime or how much cooler it gets inside the house at night, the interior remains comfortable. In a country like South Africa, with such extreme climates, this insulation is incredibly beneficial to occupants who can’t necessarily afford artificial heating or cooling systems. 

The nature of affordable housing developments often necessitates the construction of homes in close proximity. Face brick proves its worth, under these conditions. Firstly, the material density provides a natural sound barrier which facilitates quiet indoor environments, offering a form of sound insulation. Secondly, face brick also has fire-resistant properties which assist in preventing the spread of fires and minimising any damage as a result. 

The durable nature of face bricks allows for the construction of solid homes that promise homeowners longevity. This, saves on costs associated with maintenance or re-building of homes, pertinent in a sector where savings are meaningful.

As a result, clay brick construction is increasingly being recognised as a vital component of green building in the quest to find solutions that eliminate or reduce adverse impacts of development on the environment and its occupants.

 “Comparative studies undertaken by WSP Green by Design show face brick building as the most viable way forward for house construction in South Africa,” explained Shangase. “This is directly related to its competitive built cost, thermal comfort, life-cycle energy costs and overall life-cycle costs,” said Shangase. “The attractive, earthy tones that come from creating bricks from clay result in a really stunning finished product and it’s this aesthetic quality that really makes a house feel like a home.”

Community uplift through training programmes

Corobrik continues to uplift the lives of those in disadvantaged communities by empowering individuals through its extensive training programmes. The organisation has three training centres namely Lawley Centre in Gauteng, Avoca Factory in KwaZulu-Natal and Lansdown Centre in the Western Cape. 

The three centres, which are not-for-profit, are solely focused on upskilling South African citizens through an extensive training programme. The instructors – all of whom are qualified artisans and assessors accredited with a Construction CETA - provide theoretical training in class, with participants then given real-world experience with some on-site practical experience. On successful completion of the training programme, candidates receive a certification, empowering them with the skills to secure employment in the construction field or even start their own businesses. 

“Skills development remains a key priority in South Africa and Corobrik is committed to playing a meaningful role in this process,” said Shangase. “Our three training centres are designed to provide unskilled workers in both the public and private sectors with recognised qualifications in bricklaying, blocklaying and segmental paving disciplines.”

“Corobrik will continue to play an important role in the building of the South African nation, offering high quality products for the creation of sustainable, appealing buildings that citizens are proud to call ‘home’,” concluded Shangase. 

Caption for Housing Project in Christiana, North West   An attractive home in Christina, in the North West, constructed from Corobrik’s CoroJem.