Prospects for Sustainable Housing in Northern Ghana with the use of Local Walling Materials

Wisdom D. Adzraku, Peter Paa-Kofi Yalley, Akubah, T. J, Stanley Owuotey Bonney


In 2006 the World Bank described Ghana as a third World country having only 1 out of 3 persons sheltered. Suggestions were made that locally available materials instead of imported materials be used in building so as to cut down on costs and subsequently increase supply of housing units. In response, this study, focusing on Northern Ghana, conducted a cross-sectional survey of seventy respondents with a structured questionnaire to identify the major locally available walling material in use as well as find benefits and challenges associated with it. Unburnt earth bricks were identified as the major locally available walling material in use in Northern Ghana. Benefits found to be promoting its use were the thermal comforts it provided, the manner housing became cheaper, the cultural heritage that it promoted and the fact that only simple tools and methods were employed in its use as a building component. Challenges associated with the unburnt earth brick wall were, lack of recognition by Statutory Authorities, lack of strength and durability, challenges in satisfying new needs in building forms and functions, invasion by termites and rodents as well as its weakness in withstanding vagaries of the weather. Recommendations were made to overcome challenges associated with the use of the material with the aim of enhancing prospects of adopting it for sustainable housing. The study concluded that the Locally available walling material in the form of unburnt earth brick had a huge potential for sustainable housing in Northern Ghana if only government would, through competitive tenders among building technologists utilise existing research findings to get the material stabilised to the required strengths and characteristics so as to pave the way for its recognition by statutory authorities and subsequent packaging for commercial use in the building industry. This paper contributes to the body of knowledge in the areas of Environment, Architecture, Construction Management and Building Materials in a middle income country setting.

Keywords: Local, Walling materials, Housing, Northern Ghana, Sustainability, Middle income country

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