US firm IGS to use rice husks to build Sh850k homes for Kenyans

International Green Structures makes panels from rice, wheat husks.
International Green Structures makes panels from rice, wheat husks. PHOTO/IGS
US-based International Green Structures (IGS) has introduced a new building technology in the Kenyan market that promises to lower construction costs by up to 30 per cent.

IGS last month unveiled a two-bedroom house built using panels made from compressed rice and wheat husks at Sh851,400, targeted at the lower end of the housing market.

The company, which is based in Maryland, US, said it builds homes and office blocks using compressed rice and wheat husks that are paired with metal framing, thereby cutting construction costs by up to 30 per cent while reducing the time taken to build a structure.

IGS chief executive Mike McCarthy said: “We are targeting to provide building solutions just under Sh9, 000 per square metre by allowing construction companies and developers to culturally adapt the IGS for Kenyans in the communities where they live.”

The firm that has had a presence in Kenya for over a year says it has received 3,400 orders from the private sector and will open a Sh1.3 billion panel factory in Thika to meet the rising demand for alternative building materials.

“There is an overwhelming demand for housing in Kenya and limited supply in the middle and lower market segment giving IGS optimism of great success,” said IGS Kenya Ltd CEO Julius Nyoike.

“We target to produce 3,000 IGStructures in our first phase which with expansion of production lines will increase capacity to about 12,000 units per year,” he added.

IGS structures are pre-designed and factory-made, allowing them to be shipped easily to the construction site for assembly. This technology has been used extensively in large-scale housing projects in Egypt, Morocco and South Africa.

READ: Why prefabricated houses are the way of the future

The use of panel construction is slowly taking root in Kenya, as more investors seek innovative ways to boost the supply of affordable housing in the country.

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