Tackling housing deficit with technology
In developed countries, technology is being used to tackle housing challenges. With the country’s housing deficit estimated at 21 million units, a major source of concern, experts have advised the government to adopt technology in delivering mass and affordable housing, writes OKWY IROEGBU- CHIKEZIE .
The deployment of technology in housing development is the emerging trend in the construction sector.
The Lagos State government and its foreign partner seem to have caught the bug when they delivered four sets of two-bedroom flats in 14 days. This experience is set to change the face of housing delivery, given the innovativeness it has brought to the sector.
Experts, who okayed the new technology known as the Terra Block Fabricator, which uses soil and labour to create high quality building blocks, said technology could engender growth by stimulating market demand for improved housing and raising the standard of living for low income earners.
The Managing Director, Alpha Mead Development Company, (AMDC), Mr. Damola Akindolire greed. He said deploying technology in housing production could cut the cost of housing to 25 per cent. He said: “If the government ensures that there is good infrastructure, developers can focus on building houses and invest the funds they were going to use for infrastructure in technology that could help them build faster.”
Also, the Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, during a tour of the first green and eco-friendly housing estate being developed by as a joint venture between the state government and Echostone Development Nigeria Limited, said the houses were designed to use less energy for cooling and heating, thereby ensuring the sustainability of the environment.
He disclosed that it took three weeks to complete four sets of two-bedroom flats at the estate. He said the innovative technology and eco- friendly designs used would be deployed in the construction of multi-level structures in the urban areas of the state, such as Ayobo and lmota in Ikorodu.
Commending the technology deployed by the developer, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Wasiu Akewusola, said more estates would benefit from the scheme and that this was the only way to go in mass housing provision.
Earlier, Managing Director, Echostone Development Nigeria, Sammy Adigun, said they took advantage of the history of the town and infrastructure to come up with the novel project.
He said every Echostone unit was built with savings and sustainability from the construction technology to energy and water saving fixtures with each house designed to save money and last up to 100 years.
He said their reflective roofs keep indoor temperatures consistent and prevents the unit from absorbing the heat. On the walls and other structures, he said they were built with concrete, which has greater thermal and sound insulation, while also requiring less maintenance with high durability.
He said: “Our houses are built with Echostone’s proprietary concrete designed for thermal and acoustic insulation, water resistance and fire proofing. We don’t build houses, but rather manufacture them to produce world-class affordable housing options on a massive scale and rapid rate.”
The state government is deploying this technology to its estates, such as Ilubrin, a once rusty and run down location rife with crime and illicit local brews, which has been transformed into exciting new water front district on the lsland, arguably the city’s first affordable luxury mixed-development.
‘If the government ensures that there is good infrastructure, developers can focus on building houses and invest the funds they were going to use for infrastructure in technology that could help them build faster’
The government said central to the vision of Ilubrin is creating a vibrant and inclusive community with world-class shops, concerts and dance, restaurants and cafes, places to work, live and play.
Landscaped with garden, wetlands and lagoon-side promenades, this engaging and dynamic new community will set the standards for placemaking and urban living.
Ilubirin is a 29-hectare mixed-use development with a substantial residential leisure component linked to the lagoon edge and the new wetland area.
The middle class abode is a joint development between the Lagos State Government and a developer, First Investment Development Company (FIDC), a global firm.
Moruf Akinderu-Fatai added: “We have a solid plan to deliver the first phase of the project in the third quarter of 2021 and the first residential in 2020. Ilubirin is a critical important development for the city that will rejuvenate the area. We have a duty to ensure that more Lagos residents become homeowners and that the homes themselves are built to the very highest standards.”
He said the estate is one of the administration’s programmes to partner the private sector to re-engineer the state through urban regeneration and partnership with the private sector.
The commissioner stated that government would inaugurate 360 more housing units to tackle the challenge of housing deficit. He said the administration has resolved to complete all its housing schemes set aside by the previous administration to bring succour to Lagosians.
He said: “Reducing the housing deficit and bringing more people on the home ownership ladder through the provision of affordable and quality homes are tasks that are germane to building a 21st century economy. The gap is huge particularly in the urban areas and private sector participation is essential in changing the preset narrative.’’
He said though there were constraints in their quest to provide decent and affordable housing for Lagosians, the government is, however, poised to solve the problem.
The idea, according to him, is to actualise the vision of building a 21st century economy with decent shelter for all. ‘’Lagos is blessed with the potential and we are strongly committed to bringing it to fruition,’’ he stressed.