ScanHomes Africa Construction, in collaboration with the University of Science and Technology (NUST), has proposed a tried and tested alternative building method to construct a youth cafe in Windhoek’s Havana informal settlement.
The youth cafe, which is being sponsored by NUST, is set to be constructed using technology sourced from a Finnish company called ScanHomes, who say the alternative building method can solve the country’s housing crisis by providing decent housing at a fraction of the cost of a conventional home, and which can be completely constructed in less than two weeks.
“We are proud of our construction system as it can offer affordable quality houses for families who need a quality home. There is a need for this kind of system, which offers the possibility for the people to build their own, high-quality houses,” said Sylas Mungoba, one of four locals who together own 51 percent of ScanHomes Africa Construction.
The youth cafe will however only commence once ownership of the land for the proposed construction is finalised. Once this is done, ScanHomes says it will provide plans and materials for the construction and will train local youth on how to construct the homes.
“With this project we hope to attract unemployed youth who we will teach the necessary skills for these types of projects. These youths can then graduate with the knowledge to become supervisors for bigger housing projects in the near future,” Mungoba added.
Scanhomes has already built houses in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Sudan, South Africa and Mexico.
According to NUST’s country coordinator for the Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII), Emilia Shikwamhanda, the youth cafe will be ideal for NUST students and for youth in and around Havana. The structure will provide a place for students to come together and for those interested in ScanHomes technology to learn more about their construction method.
In addition, the youth cafe will act as a show house for officials and financial institutions to ascertain if the alternative construction method adheres to specifications of the country’s construction regulations.
ScanHomes commences construction with a normal case concrete floor with added reinforcements for walls. Their method allows for quality houses to be manufactured fast with a simple and price competitive method with estimates for a 110-square metre house coming in at around N$185 000.
Their concept requires expanded clay, lightweight aggregate (Leca) and serial production, while all other requirements are available locally. Leca is an environment-friendly, entirely natural product incorporating the same benefits as tile in brick form. Leca is indestructible, non-combustible, and impervious to attack by dry-rot, wet-rot and insects.
The format, size, materials and architecture of their homes can be modified according to the local requirements and climate conditions. The construction is sustainable for the environmental, eco-friendly concept. The wall structure is based on a wooden frame with nail fastenings. Timber is cut to length and insect-protected according to local regulations.
Light-weight moulds are then attached to the frame on both sides while walls are moulded with a light weight concrete comprised of light-weight aggregate, cement, sand and water.