October 26, 2020 at 3:29 am · · Comments Off on Sand: who knew?

Sand: who knew?

Text and photos:  John Stevens

An important part of building construction in Myanmar is getting the right kind and quality of sand.  Sand is used throughout our construction. It’s in each school foundation, in every brick and in the concrete.

Sea sand, desert sand and local kinds of ground sand are not really suitable for construction purposes. Only river sand should be used and although it’s not easily accessible, that’s the only kind of sand that we ever use.

In the photo below, you see regular sand which is found everywhere. It’s used a lot in Myanmar. It’s cheap but very coarse and not pure. Bricks and concrete made of inferior sand will flake, crack and crumble. Depending on how poor the quality is, some of them even break in half during the transporting.  Buildings made with this sand do not last very long.

The sand we always use comes from a freshwater river.  That sand is fine and pure as the next photo shows.

We could purchase locally made bricks made from regular sand near the construction sites for a lower price, but we pay two thirds more to get the bricks that we want. We trucked these bricks 160 miles to the current school site from north of Mandalay   One truck can transport 7500 bricks.

Sand is also a major part of the aggregate in the concrete we make for the school’s construction. Maung Maung Gyi always says he wants the schools he builds to last 100 years. That means river sand.

(John Stevens and contractor Maung Maung Gyi are based in Mandalay and have been building high quality schools for MBSPF throughout Myanmar for ten years now.)  

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