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Corobrik’s durable clay face bricks used at the Devland Social Housing Development

Corobrik’s clay face brick range is proving its worth in the affordable housing sector by constantly meeting the economic, environmental and aesthetic requirements that contribute towards creating quality homes. The Devland Social Housing Development in Soweto, completed at the end of September 2017 is a spectacular example of how Corobrik’s face brick is forming a vital component of South Africa’s Social housing landscape.

“Some of the most sought-after qualities in products used for social housing developments are durability and low-maintenance,” explained Musa Shangase, Corobrik’s commercial director. “Corobrik’s clay face brick meets those requirements every time, creating buildings that can withstand the natural elements as well as regular day-to-day use for years to come. Face brick also negates any need for plastering and painting, which saves on costs for landlords while ensuring residents can enjoy living in aesthetically-appealing premises.”

Devland Social Housing Development will consist of 588 residential units – 255 units within 46 blocks for Phase 1, which have been completed, and 333 units within 48 blocks for Phase 2. The project is being developed by Akula Trading 211 Pty Ltd for the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) with Michael Hart Architects Urban Designers the appointed Architects.

Established by the City of Johannesburg in 2004, Joshco provides affordable rental housing to citizens who earn between R3 500 and R7 500 – too much to qualify for RDP housing, yet insufficient to qualify for a bond. A government grant assists with the construction of the housing and the apartments are rented out at a subsidised monthly rental.

“The specification from the client called for 100 percent use of face brick to the exterior,” explained Michael Hart of Michael Hart Architects Urban Designers. “The bricks chosen are a red and a sand colour that are used to highlight architectural elements.” The development has been constructed using 550 000 of Corobrik’s Nebraska Travertine and 1.2 million of Corobrik’s Montana Travertine face bricks.

Reiterating Shangase’s comments, Hart said the reasons for using face brick were based on the maintenance-free exterior. “The housing project requires materials that are robust, maintenance-free, retain a superior quality and a guaranteed longevity. Face brick is also preferred for its inherent additional compressive strength.”

The benefits of clay bricks can also be found in its ecological properties – because the clay brick is manufactured from a natural material, it absorbs heat in winter, gradually releasing it into the building at night therefore reducing heating costs and maintaining a high level of human comfort. The density of the clay creates a thermal mass that improves insulation.

Hart said the clay bricks support the overall criteria of passive solar design and satisfy the regulatory criteria of SANS 10400 XA. “Furthermore, clay brick is fire compliant because they have a high fire resistance and do not release dangerous VOC’s under fire conditions.”

The development has a progressive energy efficiency rating with the incorporation of solar hot water heating for all the units and an integrated rain water harvesting system, with rainwater directed off roofs and collected in rainwater tanks on the top floor of each building. The vegetation and landscaping is all indigenous to allow for a water-wise natural environment.

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