NHC to train builders on use of new EPS technology

NHC workers construct a sample EPS panels house on Aga Khan Walk on June 14, 2013. Photo/FILE

NHC workers construct a sample EPS panels house on Aga Khan Walk on June 14, 2013. Photo/FILE

The National Housing Corporation (NHC) plans to train builders on the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) building technology before it embarks on construction of 30,000 houses across the country.

NHC, which targets to train 50 large and small contractors, wants to build capacity ahead of the roll-out of the massive housing project that will make use of the EPS technology.

EPS, the white material used for packaging delicate electronic appliances, is used to build homes by assembling ready-made foam sandwiched between a galvanised steel wire mesh that is plastered on both sides with concrete.

The use of EPS panels cuts down construction period by half while slashing direct and indirect building costs by up to 30 per cent.

According to NHC’s acting managing director Henry Maina, there is a shortage of contractors with the requisite skills to undertake housing projects using EPS technology – hence the need to train artisans on application of the technology.

“NHC is about to roll out major housing developments using EPS technology and therefore we plan to build adequate capacity by the end of this year,” said Mr Maina.

NHC plans to build at least 30,000 homes across the country in three years as it seeks to bridge the country’s housing demand-supply gap, which is currently estimated as 200,000 housing units annually. The houses will be constructed using the EPS technology.

READ: NHC’s bold plan for low cost housing

The state corporation, which established an EPS factory in Machakos in 2012, last week published tenders for pre-qualification of contractors with knowledge or interest in the use of EPS technology.

NHC categorised its requirements for contractors into two groups to cater for small and large scale projects.

Small contractors, according to NHC, are those able to undertake projects with minimum outflow of Sh10 million per month while large ones must have the capacity to implement projects with a minimum outflow of Sh100 million monthly.

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