Precast concrete providing a quality solution for Ga-Rankuwa housing project

Diamond-Maxi concrete bricks, concrete roof tiles and bevelled concrete pavers are providing durable, productive and very attractive building materials for the Ga-Rankuwa Extension 24 fully government subsidized housing project.

Funded by the Gauteng Department of Local Government and Housing (Tshwane Region) and situated in Northwest Province, this is a cross-border project which entails the construction of 1 516 houses for the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA) director, Hamish Laing, comments that properly selected and deployed precast concrete building materials form an extremely effective combination, especially when used for the construction of housing.

“This project is an excellent example of how precast concrete products can transform dull uniformity into the visually appealing. These precast concrete materials each contribute to the overall effect, providing affordable yet aesthetically pleasing accommodation in which the owner can take considerable pride,” says Laing.

The 40m² houses comprise two bedrooms, a combined kitchen and living area, and a room containing a shower and toilet. As yet there is no electricity supply to the development. This and the installation of solar water heating will take place at some future date.

“Because the bricks being used on this project have an attractive diamond-face finish the walls don’t require plastering, only painting, and the inner walls are bag-washed – both processes saving on costs,” observes Laing.

Measuring 140x90x290mm, the bricks are being supplied by Delta Bricks and Eckraal Quarries, and are used in a single-skin application. The roof tiles are being manufactured by West End Claybrick and Coverland. They are being laid on galvanised steel trusses supplied by Vela Steel Building Systems. The paving blocks, 50mm thick and rated at 25MPa, are being produced by Technicrete. Laing says that concrete pavers are superior to in-situ concrete for paved surrounds thanks to their superior durability and visual appeal.

Construction work commenced in January under the control of the main contractor, Jade Africa Developments. The project is being built in three phases, the first comprising 516 houses, and as at the end of May, close on 150 units had been completed.

During this period three sub-contractors employed 207 labourers on site, of whom 70% were recruited in Ga-Rankuwa. Of that total, 82 were skilled and 115 unskilled, and approximately 10% comprised women.

Commenting further, Laing said that apart from being commendable in terms of quality construction, the labour-intensive method of building also contributes to job creation with the labour-cost component of the housing units amounting to 20,5% of the total cost of construction.

Jade Africa Developments, CEO, Lawrence Esterhuizen, said that as at the beginning of June a further three sub-contracting teams had been brought on board to speed up the construction process and that at least 70% of the core building skills for the new teams had been recruited locally in Ga-Rankuwa.

This means that the anticipated completion date has been brought forward from early 2013 to the first quarter of 2012.

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