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Affordable housing: Experts call for the use of reusable technology

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Construction experts have advised stakeholders in the building industry and governments at all levels to embrace a cost saving technology that allows reuse of building materials 200 times over.

The experts made the call during a one day seminar in Lagos on Sunday tagged: “Modern Buildings, Modern Structures, the How, the Why and the Benefits of Waffle Moulds in Construction.

The event was organised by Asico Projects Ltd., a building construction company and Atex, a Brazilian firm.

While making a presentation on reusable building technology, Atex representative, Leonardo Castro, said it enabled builders to save up to 31.5 per cent of cement and 30 per cent of steel during construction.

Castro explained that Waffle Slabs, moulds and other fittings could be assembled and dismantled within a short time for reuse after the building decks, beams and columns had been stabilised.

He said the design would enable builders save money and promote construction of strong buildings because the innovation used precision.

He added that the technology would also check sharp practices and quackery during construction.

According to him, the technology has been used in commercial and residential buildings in various developed countries and in some major cities in Nigeria.

The Managing Director, Asico Projects Ltd, Edosa Arasomwan, while delivering a lecture, said his firm imported the technology to address issues of wastages, quackery and corruption in the building industry.

Arasomwan said the innovation for concrete slab construction could be used for various kinds of buildings and was the best for storey buildings because of its precision in tensioning, which averts building collapse.

“Their invention and products allow us to cast suspended floors with hollows in them, making the slab lighter by taking out unnecessary concrete from the tension zone.

“They also retain the concrete at the compression zone which is the top part of the slab.

“With this you are able to save cost, the cost of concrete is drastically reduced by about 30 per cent or more and you can reuse the moulds severally.

“It can be used over 200 times and would crash the price of formworks in the construction industry,” he said

He added that the hollows created aesthetics by making building beautiful, and urged governments and other Nigerians to explore the technology which would make houses cheaper.

Also, Ayodeji Ogunde of Covenant University, Otta, Ogun, who said he had over 30 years experience in construction, certified that the innovation as capable of saving the environment.

Ogunde said the huge demand for plywood in construction translated to felling more trees but that the Atex innovation required just little fragments of reusable wood which would protect the environment.

“If you use plywood, you are degrading the environment by felling trees but if use this type of Waffle Slab for construction you only need props which are small bits you can use several times,’’ he said.

He added that Waffle slabs had greater load carrying capacity and was beautiful, and that the moulds and slabs were made from tiny woods, plastics and some iron props.

“It is better to use Waffle slabs because it takes care of vibration to avoid cracks,” he said.

He said the technology also gave builders the opportunity for “standardised, clean, safe projects without the need for specialised labour.”

Ogunde said it would be impossible to cut corners using the technology because it had been standardised.

“This construction is very economical and better than the traditional methods of constructing concrete slabs,’’ he said.

Some of the participants at the seminar said that the innovation was important in the achievement of affordable mass housing.

A quantity surveyor, Motunrayo Anifowoshe said, “my profession is about cost reduction, cost planning and anything that would reduce cost. I think this innovation is the answer to affordable houses.”

Another participant, Monsurat Abiodun, an architect said the innovation was a good development for architecture because of the beauty the moulds on both the interior and external structures.

“We do designs and I find this technology great because it is easy to use and very cost effective,’’ she said.

Also, Gianpiero Salgarella, Executive Director, Cappa and D’Alberto Plc, said his company was already using the cost effective technology, adding that curbing wastage was good for the economy.

Structural engineers, electrical engineers, builders, architects, quantity surveyors and other building professionals were represented at the workshop.

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