Formwork for construction of affordable housing and social empowerment in Africa
Kumkang Kind Co., Ltd. is a construction materials company established in 1979 in Seoul, South Korea. It is one of 20 companies under the Kumkang Kind Group, with presence in more than 30 countries and 7 branches across the world, namely:
Kumkang Kind Korea (Headquarters), Kumkang Kind America, Kumkang Kind India, Kumkang Kind Malaysia, Kumkang Kind Vietnam, Kumkang Kind Indonesia and Kumkang Kind East Africa. Furthermore, the company has established several agents and distributors such that wherever you are, you will always find their products nearby.
Kumkang Kind is a public listed company with over 500 employees worldwide, and US$600m in sales annually. Having seven factories in Korea and 1 factory in Malaysia, Kumkang Kind’s unrivaled manufacturing capacity produces over 1.9 million square meters of Aluminum formwork, 26,000 tons of aluminum billets, and 12,000 tons of scaffolding and special formwork every year.
With over 38 years of experience in the manufacture and distribution of construction supplies, Kumkang Kind delivers a wide range of solutions. These are aluminum Formwork, Steel Formwork, Civil infrastructure Formwork, Scaffolding and Shoring, Modular Units, Steel Pipes, and Climbing Systems.
The aluminum Formwork System was developed by W. J. Malone, a Canadian Engineer in the late 1970s as a system for constructing low–cost housing unit in developing countries. The units were to be of cast-in-place concrete, with load bearing walls using a formwork of aluminum panels. To be erected by the hundreds, of a repetitive design, the system ensured a fast and economical method of construction.
The Kumkang Kind’s aluminum formwork production facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art Friction Stir and Robotic Welding machines to guarantee the highest quality. Also, a highly experienced technical department ensures clients of unsurpassed support and strict supervision to enhance efficiency and safety.
Meanwhile, the aluminum recycling and extrusion factory allows the company to be self-sufficient in diversifying the aluminum supply base to avoid any delays.
Kumkang Kind East Africa
Kumkang Kind East Africa was established in Nairobi, Kenya on 15 February 2017 to cater to the growing need for affordable housing in Africa. This is the first and currently the only formwork company to have a branch in the east African region.
According to United Nations Habitat in 2015, in the next fifteen years Africa’s cities would have to accommodate an average of about an extra 40,000 people – every day. By the year 2050, the population will have increased by an estimated 1.3 billion people, and Africa will need to accommodate around 25% of the world’s population.
UNICEF’s David Anthony, in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR, America), said that the upswing in population presents both an opportunity and a challenge, depending on how the African governments handle it. Additionally, he warns that a lack of investment could result in mass poverty and mass inequality: “The worst thing would be if this transition was just allowed to happen because what you’re going to see is an unparalleled growth of the slum population.”
Addressing this will require rethinking how affordable units are delivered, given that the current construction methods used are failing to keep up with demand.
The outdated, time consuming and labor intensive use of brick or stone continue to be the most commonly used material for building structures.Other more recently adopted methods such as plywood formwork significantly impact our environment negatively, and the weight of steel formwork remains a great disadvantage to the speed of construction.
The solution? The adoption of lightweight formwork that is reusable hundreds of times and allows for the rapid construction of mass housing projects. Kumkang Kind’s aluminum Formwork System has proven to decrease the construction period by 84% and the overall cost by 36% compared to traditional methods of construction.
Products’ suitability to the market needs
Given the current housing deficits across the continent, and the rapid pace of demographic and urban growth, Africa requires innovative interventions to meet affordable housing requirements. This means housing that is appropriate for the needs of a range of very low to moderate-income households. The price to this end user is directly related to the cost of construction, which depends on the time the contractors will need to execute the work and the degree of specialization of the work to be done.
Focusing on these requirements and providing appropriate solutions have been the hallmark of Kumkang Kind’s business since day one. With the most advanced manufacturing technology and technical know-how from vast experience, Kumkang Kind always provides the most economical and productive systems to address these factors.
Kumkang Kind’s aluminum Formwork system uses a single pour of concrete for the walls, beams, columns, slab and staircases thus allowing for a 4 to 7-day cycle per floor. In relation to affordable housing, this means that projects can be delivered at least 4 times faster than conventional construction.
Generally, the longer a project takes, the greater the project costs will be. By substantially reducing the construction period, there is a similar reduction in the resources required and the overall construction cost. To the end user this means for a more affordable house, to the client it allows for fast delivery and sales, the contractor receives payment in shorter periods and the financier benefits from a quick turnaround on investment.
Quality & Simplicity
With a smooth surface and accurate dimensions of panels, there are no requirements for plastering or remedial work after concrete casting. This is another substantial cost saving. Easy assembly of the formwork eliminates the need for skilled workers. The use of a hammer and minimal manual tools are all that is required when assembling the panels.
There is no timber, brick or stone used in the construction of the building superstructure, therefore there is no requirement for carpenters or masons. Kumkang Kind formwork provides independence from scarcity of skilled tradesmen.
With vast experience and a global network, Kumkang Kind works hand-in-hand with project professionals, contractors and developers in the use of our aluminum Formwork through training, knowledge transfer, the actual implementation and after-sales support. Kumkang Kind East Africa is the first base of operations in Africa, from which the global support team is coordinated to the various sites across the continent.
“The rationale for stimulating local housing markets is clear: for every house built in emerging markets, five jobs are created.” – Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa. This is more so with Kumkang Kind aluminum formwork.
The Youth and Under/Unemployed – the simplicity of the formwork reduces the need for skilled laborers yet it increases the opportunities to employ local and unskilled labor readily available anywhere on the continent.This not only increases acceptance of slum upgrading or urban renewal projects, but also provides a sense of ownership and pride to the local community.
Local and SME Contractors – Through repetition, one set of formwork can be used for hundreds of times. A single contractor is able to construct hundreds of floors of similar design every week. African Governments therefore are not dependent on large or international contractors, but can empower local resources on large-scale projects.
Knowledge Transfer – Kumkang Kind acknowledges the lack of exposure of this technology to the African market, despite its simplicity. With this in mind, a series of training sessions are provided are provided to first-time users through onsite training at available existing jobsites, preliminary training at the client site, training and supervision during the course of the work, and most importantly, ongoing support through the Kumkang Kind East Africa office in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kumkang Aluminum Formwork System is modular, and as such engineered to any architectural or structural layout. Thus, the designers can be as creative as they like. Buildings cast using Kumkang Kind’s aluminum formwork allow for the construction of taller, stronger and more complex structures. The high cost of land in urban areas presents the opportunity to build higher to maximize on land usage, and outward to provide housing to semi-urban or rural towns.
Kumkang Kind provides the formwork panels, shoring, external working platforms and accessories required for each project. Unlike other existing systems, the Kumkang Aluminum Formwork System is flexible, lightweight and suits all building types without the need to rely on heavy cranes and other heavy construction plant and equipment. Furthermore, all components are 100% recyclable and thus reduce the impact to the environment.
Reception of new technologies and innovations
As is the trend with the adoption of other global innovations, the continent is leapfrogging into technological relevance. Since 2010, the Kumkang Kind’s aluminum formwork system has been adopted in several countries in the north, east and west of Africa.
A great example of the use of our formwork would be Dabladji Enterprise & Service. The owner, Mr. Abderrahmane Dabladji, was initially a painting sub-contractor who later invested in the aluminum formwork for a project of 80 residential units. Due to his impressive speed and quality, the company was engaged by the Algerian Government to construct thousands of social housing units. Dabladji Enterprise & Service has mastered the use of Kumkang Kind’s aluminum Formwork and is achieving an incredible cycle of two days per floor or more than 100 units per month.
Another success story is Homex Housing. The founder and CEO, Mr. Samuel Njoroge, began using lightweight reusable formwork in 2012 and the company has never looked back. Homex Housing has since incorporated Kumkang Kind’s aluminum formwork in five residential developments in Namanga, Nairobi and Kiambu, and continue to order more of Kumkang Kind’s formwork for new projects.
Managing Director of Unity Gardens, Mr. John Latham, recently adopted the formwork for an 80 unit residential project in Eldoret. The company completed and sold the housing units in less than a year. Mr. Latham is a perfect example of social empowerment as he employed the services of local unskilled civilians who were trained and worked on the jobsite to completion. Unity gardens is now embarking on the third phase of residential development.
In Tripoli, the Kumkang Kind aluminum Formwork was used by Daewoo Engineering & Construction in the construction of the JW Marriott Hotel. Similarly, Ranhill Berhad incorporated the use of the formwork in a 50,000 unit housing project in Jamahiriya.
Through the leadership of the Managing Director for Africa, Mr. Sang Won Jeon, Kumkang Kind East Africa continues to gain interest from other countries such as Rwanda, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, Somalia and Botswana.
Challenges in the market
Rolling out any new technology, especially in a massive market such as Africa has its challenges. However, Kumkang Kind finds these challenges to be mutual opportunities.
While the aluminum Formwork System has been in existence for over four decades, the exposure to Africa has been minimal. As the world develops into a global village, Africa is largely benefiting from exposure to technologies that have been previously developed, tried and tested.
Kumkang Kind East Africa continues to explore multiple marketing avenues to engage with the African governments, private developers, contractors and construction professionals. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter play a major role considering that there are almost half a billion mobile service subscribers on the continent.
Aluminum Formwork’s strength, durability and lightweight attributes create an almost perfect system for rapid construction. Kumkang Kind’s engineering and manufacturing facilities ensure that all their clients are satisfied and successful.
The difference with conventional construction is that the system is an initial and one-time cost, and through repetition is where the savings begin to show. Kumkang Kind provides design optimization suggestions to help the client achieve maximum efficacy, and encourages the use of aluminum formwork for large projects that have at least 40-50 repetitions of a similar design. The major consideration to make is that over the project lifetime, Kumkang Kind’s aluminum Formwork System has proven to decrease the construction period by up to 84% and the overall cost by 36% compared to traditional methods of construction.