Knock-Down Homes Could Solve Housing Crisis

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK In an effort to make Namibia a squatter free country, a local company is looking at manufacturing affordable and movable three- to four-bedroomed houses countrywide. Trans Atlantic Enterprises, innovators in manufacturing and construction systems, is busy setting up cheap housing structures designed to be what the company’s Marketing Manager Freddy Taylor terms “knock down” units. “It needs to be emphasised that the unit is a knock-down lightweight concrete structure with a curb comprising of lightweight concrete panels,” said Taylor, adding that the main advantage is that since the structure is not a fixed property, it can quickly be dismantled and easily be assembled again during a relocation. Since such housing caters for lowly paid income groups residing in squatter settlements, a client can opt for this kind of affordable housing based on their monthly profit. “If the person can only afford a N$5 000 housing unit, then we can build such a structure with two bedrooms and toilet, which they can then choose to extend at a later stage,” explained Taylor. The locally made reinforced concrete panels are easy to construct in a short space of time and whereby no specialised skills are needed. Seeing that it is lightweight, it also makes transportation much more convenient. The foundation comprises a lightweight concrete ground beam curb and reinforced mesh. A New Era inspection of the product in the capital recently revealed that the structure also has good insulation whereby it becomes cool in summer and warm in winter. This is a far better situation than having thousands of Namibians stay under plastic sheets and pieces of corrugated iron that sweep in cold and hot elements of the weather throughout the year, said Taylor. “This is rock bottom for transforming the shanty blocks of squatter people into decent affordable housing, especially those in the rural areas,” added Taylor. The latest locally driven initiative is seen as a promotional effort to help Government in addressing the current huge housing shortage in the country, while at the same time getting rid of squatter settlement areas. Namibia is currently sitting with a backlog of 300 000 houses due to limited resources. Trans Atlantic Enterprises’ housing efforts are therefore seen as a long-term goal in addressing this challenge and aiding Government to meet its housing needs in line with Vision 2030. Besides houses, the company also constructs underground casing for coffins with the same durable and lightweight concrete structure. According to Taylor, this structure is 70 percent cheaper than that of the ordinary cemented out graves being offered today. In the near future, the company plans to construct hospitals, clinics and school buildings especially in the rural areas where it is needed the most.