Professionals in the built environment have opted for dry construction as a viable model for bridging the 16 million housing demand-supply gap in Nigeria.
The professionals, who spoke at a summit in Lagos recently, explain that the model reduces construction considerably while raising speed by as much as 30 percent.
The summit with the theme, ‘Bridging the 16 million National Housing Deficit: The Dry Construction Solution’ was organised by Redwood Consulting and supported by Nierite Limited.
In his presentation at the summit, Olusegun Ajanlekoko, a quantity surveyor and immediate past president of Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), noted that from non availability of long-term funding on single digit interest rate, the housing sector also faces many other challenges
These factors, he said, included building methodology; building materials with local content; supply chain, which hinders construction delivery; expensive and difficult designs, and conventional methods which are too long.
As a way forward, Ajanlekoko recommended fast-tracking approach to housing delivery and a drastic overhauling of the housing design.
David Majekodunmi, an architect, in his presentation titled ‘The Comparative Advantages of Dry over Wet Construction’ explained that dry construction involves building construction without use of plaster or mortar.
He added that the model also involves the use of dry materials such as gypsum board, plywood, steel frames, steel/metal cladding or wallboard in construction.
“The use of dry materials speeds the construction process and allows early occupancy,” stressing that such materials are generally light, easy to work with and have specific technical properties.
Toyin Gbede, Nigerite’s Director of Marketing, also explained to Business Day in an interview that the main advantages of the dry construction are the considerable reduction in both cost and time of construction.
According to him, because the materials are designed and produced off-site, building is just like assembling a car or a motorcycle, pointing out that this method increases speed of construction by 30 percent.
“Furthermore, because of the speed of construction, developers pay less in terms of interest rate on bank loans, and this saves up to 15-20 percent of construction cost”, he said.
Majekodunmi said this model has a number of benefits, noting that construction periods are reduced by up to 30 percent, precast concrete and light steel framing provide a rapid dry envelope and construction process is safer.
He said that there is minimal on-site storage of materials and wastage, adding that there is also increased quality and reliability plus good energy efficiency.
Timothy Nubi, a Professor of Housing and Urban Regeneration at the University of Lagos, also highlighted the advantages of dry construction over wet construction.
Nubi said that dry construction is an innovative technique that aims at developing construction industry in general and potentially improving housing practice in particular.
According to him, it offers design freedom combined with comprehensive technological performance. “Building products and processed materials are transferred directly to the building site, which means less technical, logistical and infrastructural costs,” he said