According to Assoc. Teacher. – Dr. Le Trung Thanh, Director of Building Materials Institute of Ministry of Construction, after more than ten years of implementing PM Decision No. 567/QD-TTg, investment, production and the use of non-fired building materials in Vietnam has seen positive changes. The market offers a wide range of unfired products, such as brick blocks, autoclaved aerated concrete, autoclaved lightweight concrete, precast lightweight concrete hollow core panels and autoclaved aerated concrete panels.
However, the number of unfired building materials manufacturing facilities is showing signs of decreasing. Currently, the country has approximately 1,600 active unfired building materials installations, with a total design capacity of approximately 10.2 billion items per year. Meanwhile, in 2019, it had over 2,000 installations, with a total design capacity of around 12.6 billion items. “Unbaked building materials manufacturing facilities are likely to shrink further if there are no mechanisms and policies to strongly promote the production and consumption of unbaked building materials,” Assoc said. Prof.-Dr. Le Trung Thanh.
According to the feedback from unbaked building materials enterprises, the consumption of this kind of building materials encounters many difficulties, with a relatively large inventory, so that factories only dare to operate below 50% of their capacity. A representative from the Construction Department of Thanh Hoa Province said that 49 unfired brick facilities in the province have a design capacity of more than 1 million items per year. However, production is 25% to less than 40% of design capacity. In particular, the production and consumption of unfired materials over the past two years has continuously decreased by 5-6% per year. According to a representative of the Hai Duong Provincial Construction Department, three out of five enterprises producing unbaked building materials in the province had to stop production due to consumption difficulties. The situation is similar in many localities, such as Khanh Hoa, Binh Phuoc, Cao Bang and Thai Nguyen.
There are many reasons why unfired building materials tend to decrease production. According to experts, the first reason is that most people are not yet used to using unbaked building materials. This product is not economically competitive with other types of fired materials. On the other hand, the quality of the product is not assured because the production facilities are small in many localities, and it is difficult for the authorities to control. In fact, the technology of many small and medium-sized facilities is only at an average level, producing poor quality products, which leads to the situation where concrete bricks that are not old enough are inserted into the construction , causing shrinkage and cracking.
Another great difficulty that prevents unfired building materials from developing is that the system of standards, regulations, economic and technical standards for this type of building material remains incomplete. A representative of the Vietnam Building Materials Association said that currently product standards, building codes, architectural structures and building unit prices of all types of unfired building materials have not synchronously and comprehensively promulgated by the management agencies. As a result, architects and construction engineers find it difficult to designate and estimate the volume of materials for work. Not to mention that many new materials have not received synchronous construction and acceptance instructions, resulting in confusion and inconvenience for construction units.
Standards need to be completed
According to Mr. Pham Van Bac, Director of the Department of Building Materials in the Ministry of Construction, in recent years, the Ministry of Construction has submitted to the government to issue documents promoting the development of new building materials, such as Decree No. 2019. 09/ND-CP relating to the management of construction materials and Directive No. 08/CT-TTg relating to the promotion of the use of ash, slag and gypsum. In particular, recently, the Ministry of Construction has carried out a lot of research and production of new materials, aimed at promoting the utilization of industrial waste, helping to reduce product costs. Notable products are bricks made from red mud and thermal fly ash and concrete from fertilizer factory waste. At first, these products show technical and economical efficiency and promise to be widely applied.
Mr. Pham Van Bac also indicated that in the coming times, the Ministry of Construction will complete the standards, regulations, economic and technical standards relating to unfired building materials; continue to revise, modify and supplement the standards and regulations on the quality of uncooked products in the direction of improving quality requirements. At the same time, the Ministry of Construction will review, develop and publish instructions for the construction and acceptance of unfired building materials; strengthen the inspection and quality control of unfired materials in production facilities and construction works using unfired materials nationwide. The Ministry of Construction also recommends localities to strengthen the control of the rate of use of unfired building materials in the process of evaluation and approval of construction investment projects according to their jurisdiction and to put implement mechanisms and policies to support non-baked building materials businesses in the region. In 2023, the Ministry of Construction is expected to continue advising the Prime Minister to enact a national program to increase the use of waste as raw materials and fuels in the production of building materials and construction works.
From the industry perspective, many have argued that localities should continue to fully implement the Government’s policy of phasing out the use of traditional clay bricks to develop unfired building materials. In addition, there should be policies for taxing natural resources and environmental protection on these materials. At the same time, management agencies must have appropriate policies and incentives for the production, operation and use of unfired materials. In particular, enterprises need capital support to ensure the capacity to produce high-quality products that can participate in large construction works and projects.
Some people also said that Prime Minister’s Decision No. 2171/QD-TTg approving Vietnam’s unbaked materials development program until 2030 will be a strong driver to promote the consumption of unbaked materials in the coming times. . In this decision, the PM established specific requirements on the rate of unfired materials in construction works and projects for each period. However, to strictly enforce government direction, management agencies must have strong enough penalties for using uncooked materials that do not meet rate and quality in construction works.