The Kurdish Globe
Virtually everything related to construction, from concrete and brick to doors, windows and pipes, was showcased in Erbil's Fifth Construction Fair.
This was the fifth such fair in the Kurdish Region's capital, which was attended by 165 local and international companies.
Although, the participation of Iranian and Turkish businesses was most prominent in the fair, German, Italian and companies of other nationalities were also present.
The majority of international exhibitors were seeking local partners and agents, while some were only interested in exporting their products and services to Kurdistan and others were there for investment opportunities such as bringing technology and production to the region by building factories.
Among bricks and concrete blocks, the only two common and well-known construction materials, one can see a strange construction material showcased in one of the booths that attracted the intention of the majority of the local visitors passing by. Herish Hamza, a curious visitor from Sulaimanyia, did not only pass by the booth, but went in and started enquiring about the product.
The material was a wall consisting of two layers of fiber in the inner and outer side of the wall, filled with concrete in the middle. This material, which is used for constructing walls and is of German origin, was being imported to Kurdistan from a Syrian producer.
Due to the current instability of Syria, the producer has partnered with a local construction company and they are planning to open a factory in Khanaqin, south of Kurdistan Region.
Ahmed Hassan, the local investor who has constructed 2,500 residential units using this material, thinks that it is very suitable with the Region's weather in mind.
With 10 cm of fiber, the wall serves as a very good temperature isolator.
"If the outside temperature is 50˚C, the temperature inside a house built with this material is only 25˚C," argues Hassan. "This saves a lot of electricity and fuel for the people."
Besides, this wall can be plastered from inside and covered with marble and other decorative materials from outside. This system also has a good isolation against moisture, sound and is also fire-resistant.
Concrete block, which is the most common construction material, doesn't have temperature isolation. Brick, which are less common in the region due to its slightly higher price and more time-consuming construction compared to blocks, is both stronger and more durable than blocks and has a better isolation capability in addition to less building time.
However, this is not the fastest building system showcased in the fair. An American technology renowned as a light and fast building system is exhibited by an Iranian firm.
In this system, there is no place for concrete, mud or such things as the whole thing is a steel structure fastened with each other with screws and bolts. The walls, which are 18 cm thick, are covered with gypsum boards and temperature isolators from the inner side and from the outer side are covered with wood, cement, and humidity and sound isolators and finally stone or decorative brick. This structure hence guarantees a strong isolation capacity.
Naser Afshari, a representative of the Iranian company, says that this system keeps up to 80% temperature inside the building, which is great for energy-saving.
The steel structure has circular holes for the passage of the pipes and cables throughout the walls.
Afshari argued in a Globe interview that this technology saves 50% of construction time, and is significantly lighter than concrete buildings.
"The weight of a square meter of a concrete wall is 1 ton, while the weight of this wall is only 100 meter," explained Afshari. "Besides, this system has a high level of earthquake resistance, and it can resist an earthquake measuring 8 degrees on the Richter."
The cost of this building is between US$350 to US$450 including air conditioning system, electricity water and furniture.
Afshari argues that this technology is suitable for Kurdistan's weather and income level, and states that this system can be produced by the local workforce.
However, he criticized the local authorities for not showing enough interest about this issue and what has been brought to their country.