By Frederick Philander
A local construction company, Trans Atlantic Enterprises last Thursday launched a new and revolutionary method of building low-cost housing on a large scale using the Kavango block brick.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Simwanza Simenda, launched the project at the Habitat Research and Development Council in Katutura; two model low-cost structures were exhibited.
Simenda said the Kavango block brick wall system offers a solution to the ever-increasing housing shortage facing Namibian people and the SADC region by making housing affordable to those previously excluded for economic reasons.
“The Kavango block brick building system is clear evidence that Namibian companies such as Trans Atlantic Enterprises are working towards achieving the country’s full industrialisation in line with Vision 2030. This building system is evidence that there are ways of reducing construction costs without compromising quality, thus offering our people dignified housing.
Just because people are poor should not deny them a dignified existence,” the deputy PS said.
Simenda also said the building system offers employment creation opportunities for unskilled labour.
“This building method offers an ideal opportunity to bring about self help building projects to the rural areas of our country. The company has introduced training programmes through institutions such as the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre. By training our people in this manner build together housing projects can be implemented throughout the 13 regions of our country,” he said.
The deputy PS also welcomed the low-cost building system, which is also aimed at providing countless opportunities for the local manufacturing sector.
“Most franchised licence operators within our borders are owned by foreign companies. The Kavango block brick patent, being Namibian, will mean that other countries buying into its licence will be ploughing back revenue into Namibia. The reverse currently exists with many foreign franchises operating in the country,” he said.
Simenda urged other Namibian companies to emulate Trans Atlantic Enterprises in finding solutions to bring about socio-economic changes in Namibia, Africa and the rest of the world.
“It is great to see a passion and commitment towards striving for solutions in order to make a difference in our country.
It is clear that the Kavango block brick construction system can contribute significantly towards the uplifting of our people.
“I value the commitment towards striving for solutions with a view to increasing the availability of housing,” he said.
He said there was need to adopt new technologies in an ever-changing world.
“Change is inevitable and we as Namibians need to constantly examine alternatives that can bring about more dignified living standards to all Namibians. This system indicates that we have what it takes to set new standards and be an example to our SADC neighbours and the rest of the world,” he said.
Trans Atlantic Enterprises owner, Heinrich Schroeder, said the Kavango block brick is purely a Namibian technology patented internationally.
He said the new method is not only 40 percent faster than standard construction systems but can save 25 percent on current conventional building methods.
“Due to its diversity the Kavango block brick, an interlocking type of block, can replace wooden framed walls as well as metal and asbestos framed walls in houses and buildings up to 10 floors high. Less mortar and time will be used by way of this building method,” Schroeder said.