Low-cost housing venture to start in Nam

Magreth Nunuhe

Windhoek – Polycare, the German company set to provide low cost housing at mind-blowing cheap prices in Namibia, has promised to start its operations as early as January next year.   

Speaking from Germany, Polycare chief executive officer Dr Gerhard Dust, said that they were busy building machines which would be used to create building materials and have already setup shop at Brakwater, a settlement on the northern outskirts of the capital, Windhoek.

He disclosed that Polycare has also partnered with two Namibian construction companies, which have taken up 66 percent majority shares in the company.

Polycare promises to build houses for as little as N$250 000 for a 50 square metre house, which is expected to be 20 percent lower than the going price at the moment.

The First National Bank House Price Index over a five year period, released in 2016, revealed that Namibia’s property prices have been spiralling out of control, shooting up by a massive 87.8 percent.

Between 2009 and 2015, median house prices for the major towns, such as Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Henties Bay, Otjiwarongo, Oshakati, Ongwediva and Gobabis increased from N$400 000 to N$900 000.

Namibia also grapples with the supply shortages of housing and is among countries with the highest house price increase in the world with an inefficient land delivery system, limited availability of serviced land and mismatch between supply and demand.

Polycare’s technology, appear to be the answer for the slow pace of housing delivery in the country. The company uses technology that does not require the use of water and cement and can construct a house in two days.

Dust said that his company can build about two houses a day, but if more partners come on board Polycare would be able to build as many as 500 houses per month.

“We have superior materials and need to build more machines,” he added, saying that they would build the factory at Brakwater and start providing the low-cost houses to areas around Windhoek before proceeding to other towns.

“It is a really huge social impact for Namibia. This will enable people to create SMEs that can build using our bricks,” said Dust.

The Mayor of Okahandja, Congo Hindjou, whose town some 70 kilometres north of Windhoek was the first to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Polycare to provide low-cost housing with the German city of Gehlberg, said that they were just waiting for the project to come to Namibia.

“People are very keen on this and can’t wait,” he added.

Hindjou said that the municipality has availed about 4500 hectares of land to Polycare to provide decent housing to their residents and get rid of the spiralling shanty towns.

Last year, Polycare introduced its technology in Windhoek by building a two-bedroom model house of 45 square metre for display at the Invest in Namibia Conference on 8-9 November 2016.

The house was built in less than two days at a cost of N$120 000 and used the Polycare concrete technology that can utilise every kind of sand – even dunes sand.

Such a house is said to be four times stronger than cement, is fire and waterproof and is resistant to all types of weathers.

Namibian Ambassador to Germany, Andreas Guibeb expressed his happiness over the advances made by the Polycare in Namibia and that they have found local partners.

“We wish them good luck. We must find other partners to create other opportunities, like in the energy and agricultural sector,” he said.

Guibeb said as part of promoting investment in Namibia, the Embassy made contacts with German companies for potential investment in Namibia and Polycare was one of those.

The Polycare building material consist of dry, mineral raw materials bound together with a mixture of reactive resins and hardeners instead of the usual cement and water in traditional concrete.

Unlike the traditional way of building a house with specialised civil engineering applications, such as abrasion resistant pipes, Polycare uses inexpensive polyester resin, requiring less resin then conventional polymer concrete.

The construction technique is started by preparing a sand bed, setting the base plates and then connecting the base plates with steel straps.

Then the base strips are laid with the sand bed and the process is repeated until a complete house stands on its own.

Polycare houses are designed with future expansion in mind and can be moved to another place or be extended.

According to Dust, the Polycare’s polymer concrete is significantly higher to produce than the cost of producing a ton of cement concrete, but the final build is still cheaper.

September 2017
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