NHC prefabs to boost home ownership

 NHC workers construct EPS panels house on Aga Khan Walk on June 14, 2013. Photo/Nation

NHC workers construct EPS panels house on Aga Khan Walk on June 14, 2013. Photo/Nation

The National Housing Corporation (NHC) has stepped up its campaign to boost supply of low cost houses in Kenya as it seeks to bridge the housing demand-supply gap in the country.

NHC has unveiled plans to build 30,000 low cost houses around the country– 20,000 units for middle-income-earners and 10,000 for low-income earners – through partnerships with landowners and counties.

The state-owned company plans to build the houses using the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) technology that uses soft boards and wire mesh to manufacture floor, wall and roof panels.

NHC managing director Wachira Njuguna said: “The use of EPS technology will allow for speed and lower the cost of delivery, which will translate to more affordable housing units.”

According to Mr Njuguna, the innovative technology will accelerate supply of low cost housing in Kenya, with a three-bedroom house costing Sh1.2 million down from Sh2.4 million for a brick and mortar house.

NHC has already built 100 houses in Nairobi’s Balozi Estate using the innovative technology and would aggressively market it among builders across the country.

The EPS panels are manufactured at the firm’s Sh700 million Mavoko EPS factory, which was launched in 2010.

READ: NHC factory makes affordable housing dream a reality

Various low-cost materials have already been deployed in the local housing market, including pre-fabricated timber panels which can be assembled on site in about eight hours for a standard two-bedroom house, to interlocking soil bricks that do not require mortar to assemble.

The new technologies come at a time when the demand for housing in the country greatly surpasses the supply due to rapid urbanization and a growing middle class.

Statistics show that about 40,000 units are supplied into the local market yearly against an annual demand of at least 200,000 units – leaving an annual shortfall of 160,000 units.

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