The National Housing Corporation (NHC) is banking on the adoption of Alternative Building Technologies to develop quality affordable homes across the country.
Speaking during a tour of the Corporation’s EPS factory located in Mavoko, Machakos County, NHC’s Managing Director Mr. Andrew Saisi said the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) technology is a proven game changer in the construction industry with the ability to cut the total construction costs by up to 30% and reduce the construction period by up to 50%.
The KShs. 700 million plant began operations in 2012 and has a capacity to produce EPS panels for NHC projects as well as for sale to the public.
The EPS panels are made of polystyrene and are considered favorable as construction material in terms of cost and safety. The EPS foam according to Mr. Saisi, is 90 per cent air meaning it is very light and also has outstanding thermal insulation due to the fact that air is a poor conductor of heat.
“In conventional construction, reinforced concrete columns provide support at intervals and /or the corners only. But with EPS technology, the steel mesh provides reinforcement throughout the structure,” Mr. Saisi said.
The EPS technology entails building homes by assembling ready-made EPS panels. Its strength, durability and lightweight nature makes it a versatile and popular building product.
The panels reduce the time taken to build a house since the elements are manufactured in a factory setting under controlled environment using quality raw materials into standard sizes that are then shipped and assembled on-site. Further, housing units built using the technology have better soundproof attributes, are durable and pest resistant.
The Corporation seeks to leverage on the cost cutting and time saving aspects of the EPS technology. It also seeks to bridge the housing deficit through providing decent and affordable housing to Kenyans under the Affordable Housing Programme.
This is also in line with the reforms in the housing sector incorporated in the Social Pillar of Vision 2030.
“NHC has additional specialty components available for purchase including wall panels of varied thicknesses, floor panels, and staircase systems” the Managing Director added. Under the direction of a licensed engineer, the double walled EPS panels can be used to build up to 20 stories.
The factory tour was graced by the Director General of Vision 2030 Mr. Kenneth Mwige who lauded the Corporation’s efforts towards the delivery of affordable housing as envisaged under the Vision 2030 Social Pillar.