The Star (Nairobi)

11 February 2013

Kenya: NHC Sets Up Plant to Produce Cheap Building Materials

The National Housing Corporation has adopted new technology for the production of affordable construction materials. Next Monday, the NHC will unveil a new factory to produce Expanded Polystyrene Panels.

According to the Factory manager Andrew Saisi, the Corporation is striving to tackle the challenges facing the government in provision of affordable housing.

"With the rising cost of construction coupled with expensive cost of finance, we had to think outside the box," said Saisi.

He said high costs of construction and financing from potential buyers has made housing unaffordable to the majority of low and middle-income earners.

EPS panels are modular elements made of shaped polystyrene panels that are contained between two sheets of galvanized welded meshes. The vertical mesh wires are set along the polystyrene thus creating reinforced concrete micro pillars once the panel is coated with concrete.

Speaking during a tour of the newly constructed factory, Saisi said advantages of using the EPS panels outweighs traditional materials such as stone and wood.

He said that EPS panel are strong and and have resistance against moisture, sunlight, pest and rodent attack making it preferable as a durable material.

Constructing a house using EPS panels ensures safety and security of its occupants, according to a research done by NHC officials."In EPS new technology, concrete is the most secure followed by stone and brick. Timber and mabati are easily penetrable and cannot assure occupants of safety," said Saisi.

He said using EPS can help cut the cost of construction by between 30-50 per cent."The cost of capital tied during the construction period is often significant. The use of the EPS building systems is expected to reduce the time taken in construction and therefore the time over which capital is tied up," said the official.

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