Adoption of appropriate technology in construction: A pilot study of compressed earth blocks uptake in Kamuli District – Uganda
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The use of compressed soil blocks (CSB) in the construction of housing in Uganda can be traced back to the slum upgrading projects of the early 1990’s (DCDM, 2003a; 2003b). 25 years on, the propagation of a technology that has seen improved supply of housing in India, South America and Southern Africa has had little impact on the supply of housing in Uganda. Basing itself in the diffusion theory, this study provides insights into how failure of adoption can be managed or reduced. In an effort to better understand how current and future innovations may be better conceived and rolled out, the level to which the perception of critical adoption dimensions affect diffusion are queried in the propagation of compressed earth block as a building material. The study was undertaken based on the innovation decision model, querying identified opinion leaders in communities where CEB technology has been utilised about their opinion on the technology. The study found that perceived economic advantage of a technology is a decisive factor for its adoption in spite of awareness of promising alternatives. The study identified that while interpersonal communication channels are important in the formulation of opinions, these present a limited opportunity for awareness of a critical number for adoption to gain momentum. The study having tested methods of identifying opinion leaders, forwards the notion that awareness drives focused on these individuals, emphasising the lifecycle cost benefits of CEB has the potential to lead to an increase in demand and adoption. Furthermore increase in demand can lead to a reduction in price of CEB through a greater sharing of fixed overhead costs.