Housing is one of the basic needs of man. It is as necessary as what to wear and eat in the form of clothing and food. Like every other needs of man, houses available are not enough to meet the housing demand in the country due to the large and growing population of man.
The increasing need to build new residential houses, factories and offices to accommodate Nigeria’s large population has made concrete block production a very lucrative business in the country. Housing and construction is one of the major drivers of growth in more than 40 allied industries, including the concrete block industry.
Demand for concrete blocks has also risen tremendously as a result of the demand for it in the housing and construction industry. In addition to this, there is also increasing demand of concrete blocks from government and multi-national contractors for other building purposes.
A potential concrete block producer must have a good level of patience and must have time for the job. He must also know or be willing to know about building business, as this will help a great deal and increase his profitability in the long run. Also, the business owner must have good networking relationship with individuals and corporate customers.
It is however necessary to make proper documentation and licensing of the business with the relevant agencies such as Corporate Affairs Commission ( CAC ), National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON) and other relevant agencies in the Building Industry.
What You Need To Start The Business
The raw materials needed to start a successful block business are water, cement and sand. It is important that these raw materials should be available adequately for use. A suitable land also has to be in place.
1. Land : This is a crucial aspect and can’t be done without. Get a land that is close to a developing place where building operations are going on. Block industry business is in its gold stage because everywhere you look, people seem to be building a house. To locate your business, you need a place that can be easily accessible. Focus should be on local markets, commercial and building contractors and industrial builders too, with special focus on new home constructions, project developments and industrial maintenance.
You also need to consider your proximity to water supply but ensure that the place is not swampy or prone to flood. When you get the land, build a structure for shade. You’ll also need to dig a well or bore hole for water supply or perhaps, get big tanks for water storage. If you’re very serious and financially buoyant, you can go ahead and dig a bore hole.
Proper verification should be done before you get into any land. It is advised you get to know the owner of the land to be used for your block production business. When you have known him, discussion will be to bargain for the land. Whatever agreement will come as the rent paid for that property.
2. Water Supply: Water is very important as it is used to mix the other raw materials (cement and sand) to mould blocks. To get adequate water supply, dig a deep well or perhaps, get a big tank that can reserve water. It’s advisable to dig a bore hole as it will save cost a lot in the long run.
3. Cement: You need to source for a good cement that will help you produce quality blocks. There are different brands of cement to choose from for production. Priority should be given to cement that will facilitate quick drying of these blocks for efficient production. 15 bags of cement can yield over 500 concrete blocks that are of good quality.
4. Sand: There are different types of sand and a thorough market research will help you find out the best to go for. The quality of sand determines how durable and strong the blocks will be. Sand stone is another option to use. You can go directly to the quarry to negotiate the cheapest stone dust you can find for delivery to save cost. However, the most suitable sand for block production is called sharp sand.
Don’t sacrifice quality for anything. An inferior block can be very dangerous because cases of collapsed building always go with victim(s).
Equipment Needed To Start The Business
Below are a list of equipment needed to start a concrete block industry. However, if there is not enough capital to go for brand new ones, you could opt for the fairly used ones as long as they are reliable for the successful operation of the business. Then as you start making your profits, you could get new ones.
Below are the equipment you will need to have to kick-start the business:
– Vibrating Block Moulding Machine: This helps to mould block faster.
– Cement Block Carrier: For proper mixing of cement, sand and water.
– Shovels: For moving the sand.
– Head pans: For moving the sand.
– Power Generating Set: For alternative power supply. The generator should be a diesel generator as it is the most suitable in block production for cost effectiveness and reliability.
– Wheelbarrows: For moving the blocks.
– Supply truck: For delivery to clients’ construction site. Supply truck is needed, especially when there’s an order to supply blocks to sites far from the industry. The supply truck can be bought or better yet, rented. Mode of transportation should be given serious thought because virtually every order will require a delivery to sites far from the business.
Manpower Needs For The Business
– Skilled labourers: A successful block industry will need skilled workforce to operate the block moulding machine, take charge of mixing the sand with cement and water, and carrying the block from the moulding point to the space for the block to dry. The number of labourers you should have depends on the size of the industry, your output and demand.
– Cashier: A cashier may be employed to keep account of how many blocks were moulded, supplied and stored. This is necessary to measure production level and performance.
– Supervisor : You will need an experienced supervisor whom all other workers will report to. He could double as an operator and as a supervisor. He should have general oversight role over other areas of the business and report to you as the proprietor.
– Truck driver : Consideration may be made to hire a driver for the truck, if there is need to.
Some Important Business Considerations
Here are a few things you should also put into consideration to ensure success of the business:
1. Power supply should be stable for business growth. Relying only on the public power supply may adversely affect your output. Therefore, get an alternative power supply source, in form of a diesel power generating set.
2. Set up the business on a dry land.
3. Provide reliable and durable equipment for the successful operation of the business.
4. Recruit skilled workforce.
5. Ensure availability of truck to deliver goods to customers’ desired location at the appropriate time.
6. Manufacture concrete blocks with highest quality cement that dries quickly for commercial production.
7. Safety measures must be observed at all times.
Safety Measures You Should Ensure In Your Block Industry
1. Care should be taken to avoid injury because, lifting and handling blocks is a highly repetitive task. It can also involve twisting, stooping or reaching upwards. The risk of injury increases with the weight of the block and when laying above shoulder or below knee height.
2. Protective wears should be worn at all times when handling blocks to protect against cuts and abrasions from sharp edges, and to avoid being injured by flying or falling objects. This will also protect the eye, skin and respiratory tract from exposure to cement dust which causes irritation.
3. Keep routes free of obstructions to prevent slips and trips.
4. Make sure machine guards are in place to protect workers from entanglement moving parts of machinery during operation of the equipment.
5.There should be a suitable place to store your cement. Cement should be stored in a dry place and covered to avoid being damaged by rain or sun. Blocks should be secured from theft and physical damages.
About The Writer : This was written by Ijalana Funsho, content contributor at MyAfribusiness.com. He is a graduate of Agricultural Economics, an HR practitioner and a project manager.
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