Corobrik, a leading South African brick manufacturer, has definite plans to emerge as a major supplier of clay-face and paving bricks in the Middle East.
“For the past two years, we have been working to establish Corobrik clay face bricks and pavers as a meaningful and respected brand in the UAE,” says Corobrik’s export manager Steven Soper. “Since the Big 5 Show in December 2003, we have seen the interest and demand for clay face bricks and pavers accelerate.”
In recent years, Corobrik in conjunction with Mac Al Gurg Builders Merchants (an Easa Saleh Al Gurg company) has been encouraged to see discerning developers include clay face brick finishes in their developments, in a market which has traditionally used plaster and paint finishes.
Soper adds: “We have supplied both commercial and residential projects and have recently shipped bricks for a further 18 villas in Dubai. Considerably more face brick projects are in the pipeline.”
He continues: “It is no secret that buying or building a home is generally the most expensive investment a homeowner makes. And, through this process, we seek to secure the best quality products possible to ensure your home will last for years and years.
“While the strength of real clay bricks is taken for granted, we often forget or perhaps, ignore the many other intrinsic values that this top-quality building material provides.
“What appears to be driving the move to face bricks are developers who are reporting that clay brick buildings are giving better returns, particularly as new owners see the benefits and the opportunity to differentiate themselves from others.”
Recently, 12 new villas on Jumeirah Beach Road were sold off the drawing board as soon as the project was launched. Buyers were attracted to purchase their homes because of the unique statement face brick makes to any building. “Beauty and functionality is what has seen clay face brick stand the test of time,” Soper says. “Not only does clay face brick look good but offers the benefits of durability, fireproofing, noise resistance and thermal insulation – the latter now being a crucial factor in the quest for creating more sustainable environments.”
“The high temperatures prevalent in the UAE require all buildings to be air-conditioned in order that they are habitable. With 60 per cent of electricity generated in the UAE estimated to be used on air-conditioning, the authorities in a bid to create a more sustainable environment are rightfully pushing for more thermally-efficient buildings, which require a U-value of less than 1.
“Clay brick has insulation properties to support the achievement of this U-value. By using a double skin wall with an exterior of clay face, with a 50 mm cavity between the clay face and the internal plastered wall, the U-value can be easily achieved, he says.
With the trend now favouring cluster-type housing complexes, the need for noise-absorbing material to reduce noise levels and enhance lifestyle is essential. The heavy-weight clay brick walling is an ideal means for insulating buildings against noise. Even a single wall of clay brick is able to reduce noise dramatically, he says.
“As clay bricks are fired at high temperatures during manufacture, they are incombustible and therefore significantly fire-resistant. With regard to fire protection, clay bricks have historically been used as the benchmark for other walling materials, which try to emulate the properties of clay bricks but never with the same success,” says Soper. “Fired clay bricks are the most beautiful, sustainable, versatile and durable of all building materials with natural colours being ‘fired in’ and therefore unaffected by the intensity of the sun.”
The commercial sector, which includes shopping complexes and hotels, use tropical modern architecture. The construction method of choice has traditionally been steel or concrete sub-frame with a block in-fill and a glass or marble facade. Corobrik clay face bricks, when used as a cladding material, offer designers and specifiers an opportunity to express their natural flair through a wide range of natural colours and textures, he says.
Corobrik, which has over 100 years of experience in servicing the needs of the building industry in South Africa, is the largest producer and supplier of clay face bricks and paving bricks in Africa and has enjoyed export success throughout the world.
From affordable housing to luxury apartments, commercial and industrial applications, Corobrik has a range of products to suit every need. The company enjoys a hard-earned reputation for a consistent quality product backed by superior levels of service and technical support to both specifiers and users. Corobrik markets its products through an accredited network of independent distributors.