The call by President Jacob Zuma for speedy solutions to the housing needs of mining communities could turbo charge the pace of roll-out of alternative building technologies (ABT) in the human settlements arena of community infrastructure in South Africa.
This is the view of Brent Harris, founder and managing director of Vela Building Solutions, a pioneer and lead player in the application of sustainable ABT construction methods and systems as a faster and more cost-effective alternative to traditional bricks and mortar.
Measures to deal with living conditions in mining communities was a key aspect of a socio-economic action package announced by the President after a follow-up social dialogue meeting between government, business, labour, and community organisations on the state of the economy.Cost and speed are key factors
"Given the sense of urgency expressed by the President, and taking into account the current state of the economy, cost and speed of construction will inevitably be the key factors in any action the mining industry takes in response to the government's clarion call on housing," says Harris.
"Meanwhile, there is a steadily growing groundswell of State and public sector demand in South Africa for Vela's modular solutions to the delivery of economic and affordable housing, as well as other forms of human settlement associated infrastructure - such as schools, clinics, offices and retail premises," Harris continues.
The benefits of ABT construction in the human settlement arena - including cost and time efficiency, durability, and skills development - remain largely untapped in South Africa. "The biggest issue with using traditional construction methods is that there is too much reliance on the skills of the builder. ABTs ensure uniformity and more consistency on the final product," he adds.