Saint-Gobain, world leader in the construction markets recently attended the annual summit of the Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK) in Mombasa. The conference presented the opportunity for the Group to reaffirm its commitment to support the Big Four Agenda of the Kenyan government and the delivery of 500,000 houses between 2017 and 2022.
In line with the country’s constitution and the Global Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, Saint-Gobain strongly believes that access to dignified housing is a matter of human right.
Reducing the growing shortage of affordable houses in Kenya
The world is urbanizing at a very high rate and Kenya is no exception. Over 26% of Kenyans live in cities and the urban population is growing at a rate of 4.2 % every year.
This level of growth creates tremendous pressure on the housing market. For example, Nairobi requires at least 132,000 new housing units annually to keep pace with its expanding population. Yet only 50,000 homes are built, creating a growing housing deficit of 82,000 units per year.
This situation has contributed to the development of large informal markets. It is said that, 61% of urban households in Kenya live in undignified settlements of which 70-80% in rental units.
To address this issue, the government of Kenya has made affordable housing a presidential priority and is committed to facilitate the construction of 500,000 houses between 2017 and 2022.
Moving towards a sustainable and affordable built environment
According to Sachin Ramkasoon, Saint-Gobain Business Development Director for East Africa, Saint-Gobain has a key role to play in supporting Kenya’s urban transformation.
“Our building solutions aim to improve people’s daily life by providing quality and decent housing for all. In Kenya, we continuously develop and adapt our portfolio to the market needs and offer solutions combining affordability, comfort and sustainability.”We aim to provide adequate solutions to improve living conditions while respecting the affordability brackets of the population. Our solutions contribute to better living through:
- Guaranteed quality, safety and security: Our solutions guarantee strength and durability backed by the Group’s 353 years of experience worldwide. Furthermore, our products are compliant with international standards. For example, we offer the best quality gypsum board and gypsum plaster for ceilings and dry walling, reducing the high maintenance costs of buildings and product wastage.
We also provide Brush Coat, a cost-effective waterproof and UV resistant solution that protects external walls against moisture and is integrally coloured for low maintenance. In addition, we have a range of solutions to protect people and property ranging from non-combustible ceiling board and insulation to fire resistant dry-walling systems and glazing.
- Comfort and energy efficiency: We believe that although affordability is key, there should be a balance between affording a home and comfortable living conditions. Because insulation increases energy efficiency and provides energy savings, we consistently encourage the installation of insulation in ceilings and walls together with reflective glass. It helps houses to keep an optimal temperature and reduce thermal discomfort while using very little energy.
- Speed of construction: Dry walling systems can be installed 3 to 4 times faster compared to traditional methods, making it possible to build a house of 45 m² in one day, as opposed to three days for brick work. In addition, dry wall technology is water-free which also contribute to the speed of installation. In light with the enormous housing deficit in Kenya, dry wall systems can significantly contribute to narrow the housing gap.
As our solutions perform optimally when correctly installed, it is critical to upskill construction professionals on the theory, practice and installation of the Saint-Gobain systems for new buildings and renovation.
“Kenya’s affordable housing strategy can only be successfully implemented with the participation of the entire construction industry. At Saint-Gobain, we provide Kenyan professionals with the necessary technical skills for the installation of ceilings, dry walling and insulation. Almost 500 local contractors have already been trained in East Africa. That is a good start. Through our training offering, we are convinced it is helping the sector as a whole and contribute to the improvement of the quality and safety of buildings”, concludes Ramkasoon.
About Saint- Gobain
Saint-Gobain designs, manufactures and distributes materials and solutions which are key ingredients in the well being of each of us and the future of all. They can be found everywhere in our living places and our daily life: in buildings, transportation, and infrastructure and in many industrial applications.
They provide comfort, performance and safety while addressing the challenges of sustainable construction, resource efficiency and climate change. With its presence in the region since 1998, Saint-Gobain now has five offices, 13 manufacturing plants and about 1500 employees in 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. www.saint-gobain-africa.com