Vaka Concrete commissioned its first manufacturing plant in 2012, conveniently situated at 1284 Delport Road, Sunway City Industrial Park, in the eastern part of Harare. Their second branch was opened in 2014 at Number 8321 Zambezi Industrial Park, in Gweru in order to serve the central region of the country. In the relatively short time that they’ve been operational, they’ve rapidly grown to become one of the biggest manufacturers of concrete bricks and pavers in the country. The Harare branch has the capacity to manufacture 120,000 bricks in a single 9-hour shift, while the slightly smaller Gweru branch can produce around 20,000 bricks in a single shift.
The Chairman of Vaka Concrete is Joseph Mutizwa with Daud Taranhike serving as Deputy Chairman and Nyasha Zhou as Non-Executive Director. Operations Manager Marshall Gwandira, Energy Mapanda as Production Manager, and Accountant Arnold Mayara oversee the day-to-day running of the business.
Although the sophisticated, automated system is less labour intensive than traditional brick-making methods during peak production periods the Harare branch creates employment for around 50 locals while the Gweru branch employs around 20 people. Staff receives on-the-job skills training and Vaka has an excellent record for staff Health and Safety.
One of the reasons for their huge manufacturing capacity is that they made a substantial capital investment in the most up to date technology and plant equipment from South African based company Birkenmayer, as well as Eirich industrial mixers. Both of these brands are recognised around the world as the leading suppliers of superior brick making equipment – built to last with German precision.
The sophisticated industrial machinery ensures that each and every brick, block or paver is manufactured to the highest standards and that each product in the range is identical in terms of strength, size and colour. There is virtually no variation in their products from different batches. This has earned Vaka Concrete accreditation from the Standards Association of Zimbabwe – ensuring you can trust that their products are always of the best quality.
Presently Vaka Concrete manufactures a range of concrete bricks in a variety of colours including the natural grey, a reddish terracotta colour similar to traditional clay bricks, and yellowish amber colour. The terracotta and amber bricks can be used as facebricks and left unplastered or unpainted. The bricks have a solid colour throughout so they can be cut and chipped without showing colour variations – and the colour is completely fade resistant. They also manufacture pavers in a variety of colours and strengths. Their 60mm pavers are ideal for domestic use – driveways, patios and pool surrounds, while their 80mm pavers are suitable for areas with heavier traffic – like traffic roundabouts or for trucks weighing up to 30 tonnes. Vaka Concrete affirm that no order is too big or too small – from large construction projects for property developers to small orders for individual DIY enthusiasts.
While they do carry a substantial amount of stock bigger orders can be accommodated within a 14 to 21 day period – allowing for the bricks and pavers to cure to full strength. Unlike clay bricks concrete bricks get stronger over time as the cement sets and hardens. So concrete bricks and pavers really are a worthwhile, lifetime investment.
Vaka Concrete can cater for all their customers’ needs. Where customers don’t have their own delivery vehicles Vaka can recommend reliable transport operators, and they also have a list of tried and trusted sub-contractors for paving or construction. They also have a handy app on their website to help customers calculate the quantities needed for paving and they can assist with calculating the number of bricks needed for a specified project.
Currently Vaka Concrete manufactures a range of solid concrete bricks and pavers in a variety of colours, as well as hollow blocks. Future plans include expanding to manufacture concrete roof tiles, curb stones, culverts, manhole covers, pre-cast lintels and ZESA poles. In fact Vaka Concrete is set to become the one-stop supplier for all concrete pre-made products used in the construction industry – from home DIY projects to massive civil contracts.
The raw materials for Vaka Concrete’s manufacturing process are all sourced locally, helping to support local industries and reduce the need for foreign currency expenditure. Their proximity to raw materials ensure that they produce quality products at affordable prices. The production process uses fairly large amounts of water which is sourced from a prolific on-site borehole. Because the concrete products are naturally cured there’s no need for bricks or pavers to be dried in kilns which are wood or coal fired, so concrete bricks are also a more environmentally friendly option.
Some of their previous contracts include supplying products for individuals, corporates, real estate developers, government civil projects, schools, the fuel sector, and banks. They supplied around 5 million bricks for the Fairview Properties development in Ruwa as well as bricks for the Lafarge housing project, the Mimosa Mine housing project, NBS in Bindura, pavers for Village Walk in Borrowdale and pavers for OK Supermarkets in Glenview and Kwekwe – to name just a few.
The choice of concrete bricks has a number of benefits for consumers. Concrete products continue to cure and get stronger over time making then extremely durable and sustainable. This applies to bricks, blocks and residential and industrial pavers. Building with concrete is not just sustainable it is also ecofriendly as the production process uses less energy than producing conventional bricks and creates very low carbon emissions – unlike clay fired bricks that are frequently cured with wood or coal fuelled kilns. Because the colour is fade resistant, concrete bricks and pavers are virtually maintenance free saving time, labour and resources. Concrete bricks also have a high insulation rating for temperature regulation and acoustic control and in addition, they’re extremely fire resistant. Vaka Concrete products are guaranteed to always have exactly the same dimensions with sharp edges that don’t break or chip and are excellent for jointing. Concrete products also bond very well with cement during the construction process – they’re easy to use and add strength to the building’s superstructure.
Contacts for Vaka Concrete:
+263 24 2437047-8
+263772493606, +263773 580 374
1284 Delport Road,
Sunway City Industrial Park,
Zambezi Industrial Park,
-text by Michael Nott
-photos by Structure and Design