Chinese firm based in Nairobi, Boleyn Magic Wall Panel Limited (BMWP), has today announced its readiness to introduce precast concrete building solutions in the country after the completion of its Sh3billion modern precast housing factory in Kitengela along Namanga Road.
The factory with a production capacity of 20, 000 units of houses annually will be start selling its products from May 2015 and provides part of the technology that the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development has approved to help bridge the current gap in the supply and demand of housing. The precast technology is also expected to reduce the cost of homes by 20-30percent hence providing housing for low and middle income segment.
Speaking during the signing of a sponsorship agreement for the incoming 21st Kenya Homes Expo, BMWP Managing Director, Mr. Jack Liu said, the precast concrete building solution is not only a precursor for lowering the cost of homes but also a step in the right direction in helping tame substandard constructions that lead to regular collapsing of buildings in the country.
“Our factory will manufacture products like wall panels, half slab, hollow core slab for flooring and roofing, columns, pressurised beams, road barriers, railway sleeper, highway and bridge double T beams, staircases,” said Liu adding on that since precast concrete is manufactured in a controlled casting environment it is easier to control the mix, placement, and curing hence the quality of the construction can be controlled and monitored much more easily than on site cast concrete.
“Precast solution has plenty of advantages such as it doesn’t require plastering, no formworks and wooden works and no scaffolding required,” added Liu.
According to Daniel Ojijo, CEO Homes Universal Limited, the precast solution reduces construction period and labour by up to 60percent and overall capital investment by over 4percent.
“The is a blessing for many developers who are grappling with long time taken to finish the construction of their projects as the pre-pared slabs only require assembling at the site which can even take 8 days to fully complete a two bedroom house,” said Ojijo.
The technology can be used to construct high rise apartments, standalone houses, large scale housing units like those required in police station and army barracks, schools, churches among others according to Ojijo.
BMWP is preparing to showcase the precast concrete solutions to the public at the incoming edition of the Kenya Homes Expo slated for 16th to 19th of April 2015, themed: ‘Ignite your Creativity.”
“We are optimistic that 21st Kenya Homes Expo will provide us with the relevant crowd to launch our product into the market and get Kenyans to utilize it. We are also confident that many Kenyans will adopt this technology as it is far much affordable and durable compared with cast-on-site concrete,” explained Liu.
Precast wall panel or floor/roofing slabs is a construction product produced by casting concrete on a steel pallet in workshop which is then cured in a controlled chamber , transported to the construction site and lifted into place for installation.
The precast building solution has been widely applied in Europe for the last 100 years and in the Middle East for over 30 years and it’s said to be the current international construction trend likely to face out conventional building systems.
According to Liu, if precast building solution is widely adopted in the country, it will assist Kenya to reduce losses incurred through collapsed buildings estimated to be worth Sh1.4 billion a year.
BMWP has recruited and trained about 100 Kenyans to efficiently run the Kitengela factory and will create employment for about 500 others before end of 2015 when it will be fully operational.