Alternative construction materials, such as alternative bricks (AB) are becoming popular because of their significant economic, social, and cost benefits. The market for alternative bricks is expanding rapidly due to growing demand.
There are a variety of alternatives in the market, such as concrete block, hollow block, cellular block, lintel, thermal block, compressed stabilised earth block, fly ash brick, sand lime, autoclaved aerated concrete, etc.
The annual demand for new homes in Bangladesh is more than four million, and in most cases, traditional fire bricks are used in construction. To meet this huge demand, brickfields have popped up here and there all over the country.
Most of the brickfields collect soil from the nearby agricultural land which is a real threat to the food crops production. On the other hand, sustainable consumption and production is the precondition for achieving Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations which Bangladesh needs to achieve by 2030.
For these reasons, to phase out the traditional brickfields, the Brick Manufacturing and Brick Kiln Establishment (Control) (Amendment) Act 2018 was enacted. The government-owned Housing and Building Research Institute (HBRI) has been researching the suitable alternatives of traditional clay brick.
Government's attempt at reducing the production of traditional fired clay bricks has given a momentum to green building practice in Bangladesh.
At present more than 17 block manufacturing factories are working to meet the annual demand of alternative construction materials, but it is inadequate.
Government has announced several incentives like technical support and easy loans for the owners of conventional brickfields or the new entrepreneurs to establish alternative brick manufacturing factories.