Over 3,000 affordable homes coming as new tech deepens delivery

by | February 26, 2016 11:34 am

Expectation is high that by the turn of this year, the Nigerian housing market shall have received over 3,000 affordable housing units, following the deployment of a new building technology, which has capacity to reduce cost and increase speed of delivery by almost 20 percent.

Nigeria has a housing deficit considered deep by all standards, but some companies, local and foreign, in the country are responding to this deficit with the introduction of alternative building methods or new technologies that mass produce houses at relatively cheap costs.

Leading this pack is Lafarge Africa plc, one of the world’s largest building materials manufacturer that has introduced a building technology it says is not only cost-effective but also increases the speed of housing construction by as much as 15-20 percent.

Known as Aluminium Shuttering, the new building technology has the capacity to produce a studio house comprising one room, toilet with bathroom and a kitchen in just 12 days and, given a stable land and basic infrastructure, this house could be delivered at N1.5 million.

Depending on design, location and other variables, the new technology, which is a product of their partnership with an American construction firm, Walls, Tiles and Forms  (WTF) Inc, delivers a three-bedroom bungalow at between N4 million and N6 million, “and their production cost could be 10-15 percent lower with up to 20 percent higher speed,” the company said.

“With this technology, our target this year is to build, at least, 3,000 homes in Nigeria; actually, we want to go very far; so, if we can achieve more than that, we will be very happy,” Jumoke Adegunle, head, Affordable Housing and Buildings at Lafarge, told BusinessDay.

Adegunle said the 3,000 affordable housing units were to be achieved through their partnerships with other housing development stakeholders, revealing that they were already in partnership with Shelter Afrique, Fortis, LAPO Microfinance Bank, and some state governments.

“We are able to deliver more with these partnerships; we look at ways we can take advantage of these partnerships, relationships and in-house strength to make sure that we deliver value and also avoid some risks,” she said further.

Loren Zanin, the company’s CEO, Aggregates and Concretes, said their targets were low-income earners – those at the bottom of the pyramid, adding, “our target is to build and bring the cost as low as possible.”

Like Lafarge, Alpha Mead Development Company (AMDC) has also introduced a new building technology aimed at increasing the speed of construction and lowering the cost, but unlike Lafarge, AMDC is targeting home-seekers in the mid-income class.

A three-bedroom apartment in locations such as Lekki and Victoria Island in Lagos sells for between N72 million and N150 million, respectively, while four-bedroom detached houses in those same locations go for N135 million and N450 million, respectively.

But with AMDC’s new technology, known as Modular Building System or Formwork Panels, these prices are to come down by as much as 20 percent or more and, according to Ross Worley, the CEO of Wall-Tiles & Forms Inc (WTF), the technology also increases construction speed significantly such that it can deliver a house in 30-60 days post-foundation.

Worley, whose company is the inventor of the building technology, was in Nigeria to perfect a partnership agreement with Alpha Mead Facilities & Management Services Limited (AMFacilities), AMDC’s parent company, which is bringing the technology into the Nigerian market.

Damola Akindolire, executive director, Real Estate at AMDC, disclosed to BusinessDay recently that this technology would be delivering 112 housing units at its Lekki Pearl Estate in Lagos, adding that their projection for the next five years was to deliver 10,000 affordable homes for mid-income Nigerians by 2020.