Bricks are Most widely used material in construction of houses in Pakistan. Made up of clay, shaped in a mould & burnt in specially made brick kilns at above 1000°C for several days. It’s a conventional and old method of manufacturing bricks that is being practiced in this region for decades. Brick kilns are working throughout the country in different regions. Bricks manufactured in various regions have different outlook depending upon the type of available clay used in manufacturing. Bricks are used both as load bearings & non-load bearings such as in frame-structured buildings. Most frequent brick used in our region has following dimensions:
This is the most expensive class of bricks and rarely used due to its high cost. It is near perfect in all its features. It has complete size, spotless & undamaged shape, fully burnt to gain maximum strength. Clay used in these bricks is of best available quality and so is the labor that is assigned to mix, mold and dry the bricks before lying inside the kiln.
Most widely used brick in house construction is of Awwal grade. It is cheaper as compared to special brick but has all features required for strength and a good construction. Awwal brick can be further categorized as Awwal A, Awwal B etc. depending upon the prices and features. Awwal bricks are well burnt, have a decent shape but some bricks can be partially damaged in the lot.
This class of bricks is highly non-recommended for house constructions. These bricks are available at very cheap rates and are classified as doum because these are partially burnt and do not have enough strength. Irregular shape and odd colors are some of the other features of these bricks.
Some bricks in the kiln get over burnt as a result of which blakish soft molten mass is produced on the brick. The brick becomes spongy and looses its shape. Such bricks should not be used in any kind of brickwork, as they will require more mortar, might not accept the mortar because of being over burnt, look ugly and will destroy overall ambience of your walls.
Before lying bricks inside the kiln, un-burnt and wet bricks are laid in an open ground for drying. Since these bricks are not covered hence if raindrops fall over these un-burnt bricks, it leaves a permanent dotted mark. These bricks are not treated and are sent inside the kiln for burning with dotted marks. Such bricks are called “Barishi” and are available at cheap rates as compared to awwal just because of the permanent dotted mark. These bricks are safe to be used provided they are well burnt and have enough strength that matches awwal class bricks.
While constructing your house, purchase Awwal bricks that have all required features as mentioned above. Bricks can be purchased directly from the kiln owners but as a layman its difficult to deal with them hence a middleman such as a dealer or agent is more convenient. Each kiln has its own brand mark on brick that is called “maarka”. Try to use same brand mark throughout the construction for good outlook of brickwork. Different brand marks can have different sizes that are not recommended as it can result in crooked walls.
Bricks are mostly transported from kilns to desired sites in a lot of 5000. It is a normal routine that if you order Awwal bricks, a certain amount of bricks will be mixed that might not have same features as of Awwal bricks. However that amount should not exceed 10% of the total bricks in the lot. Do not make advance payments to agents or directly to kiln owners. Always make the payments when you have completely checked the quality and quantity of bricks that you have ordered.
Bricks Quantity check on site
Checking quantity of bricks offloaded on site is very necessary job. Do not trust anybody and count the bricks yourself before making the payment. Pass the instructions to on-site guard or contractor to not utilitse the bricks until and unless counting has been done. Every single brick counts in present expensive age. Dishonesty and desception are norm in bricks business in which the main culprits are either the agents or the transporters who carry and offload bricks on site. Bricks should strictly be offloaded under self-supervision or of a trustworthy person. Once offloaded the bricks are counted by following method:
Count the HORIZONTALLY laid bricks in Direction A
Count the HORIZONTALLY laid bricks in Direction B
Count the total layers in direction C
A x (Bx2) x C = Total number of bricks.
Bricks Quality check on site
Quality check is also as important as that of the quantity. You should get for what you are being charged. For checking the quality on site some of the basic methods are:
Two dry bricks should be taken in each hand such that the 3” side should be facing each other, struck both bricks gently. Good bricks will not break and produce a clear knocking sound.
Take random bricks and check their sizes. 90% of the bricks should be uniform in size.
Shape & color
Bricks should have uniform shape, there should not be bulks on any side. Well-burnt bricks are deep reddish in color with whitish side faces. However color of the bricks also depend upon the region where they are produced.
Drop a brick horizontally from a height of 3 to 4 ft. and it should not break. Repeat the test on at least 5 bricks.
Break a brick in two pieces, it should not have pores and holes inside. Repeat the test on at least 5 bricks