Laying the foundations of an attempt to solve Uganda’s housing problem, polystyrene panels are fixed together with wire mesh, then reinforced with concrete to create affordable homes.
Real estate developer Wolfgang Enderlie is the brains behind this new method of construction.
“I immediately found out there is a housing deficit. That there was no affordable housing, then I went back to Europe and met some researchers to find out the best construction material…..They told me that I have to manufacture polystyrene panels with mesh steel reinforcement,” said Wolfgang Enderlei, investor.
According to the developer the reinforced walls are five times stronger than the traditional brick and mortar… and they are fire retardant.
Those promoting the technology say it cuts the cost of construction by up to 30%. This is because the building material is more affordable compared to the traditional brick and mortar technology.
Besides affordability they say the technology is faster too.
“If you are constructing with traditional brick and mortar, and you have to build 1000 units for instance that’s the maximum you can build in one year for one project with brick and mortar. However, with the panels because of the speed of construction you can put up to 5000 units in a single year…” said Raymond Tumusiime, analyst.
But there are still challenges of accessing the raw material. Polystyrene panels are imported which could make the cost of building high. Uganda has a growing demand of 200,000 residential units per annum. But as the demand for housing units continues to rise, Real Estate Developers like Wolfgang will strive to fill the gap.