How it’s made: village brick

(Posted by Laurence)

Generally speaking, there are two types of brick in Uganda: factory brick and village brick. The former are similar to what you would be familiar with in the UK, while the latter are an altogether more rough-and-ready product. Village brick is made like this…

(1)  Clayey soil is formed into bricks using a wooden mould, and left to dry in the sun.

(2)  The dry bricks are stacked to form a square kiln, with hollows in the sides where fires can be lit; the outside is plastered with mud, and fires kept burning for several days.

(3)  Once cooled, the bricks are ready for use on site.

A few of the challenges associated with village brick are: waste, due to poorly fired bricks; poor strength; irregular dimensions.


Click on the images above to see the full photo that relates to each stage of production.

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2 thoughts on “How it’s made: village brick

    • Funny you should ask… factory brick is readily available, at least where we are now (close to Kampala); yes it is more expensive per brick, but we (at EMI) have been discussing recently whether village brick could actually be as expensive when you take into account the waste factor and the increased quantity of mortar required. One of the other project managers has done some rough calculations, but we need to do some more in-depth analysis to know for sure.

      Something else I didn’t mention above is that there is an environmental impact of village brick, because of all the wood that is burnt in the kilns – which can lead to deforestation (I’m speaking generally, not specifically in Uganda). Again, I don’t know of any clear evidence or analysis of this, and I also don’t know what the environmental impact of industrial brick firing is by comparison. As you’ll know, concrete production is not environmentally friendly, but a lot of people forget that!

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