For a long time, timber, bricks, blocks and quarry stones have been the most commonly used materials in the Building Construction Industry. With modern technology, other new types of materials for wall construction have been introduced and approved in the market. Let’s look at the 3 types of materials that are cost effective and much faster to use than the conventional brick and stone materials,when building a house
1. Expandable Polystyrene System.EPS
EPS is an industrial system of constructing a structural wall of reinforced concrete. This is a wall made of panels that consisting of polystyrene materials sandwiched by an electro welded, zinc coated square wire mesh, Which in turn are connected by 33 connectors per m2 realizing a three-dimensional hydrostatic reinforcement steel. Polystyrene is the white soft materials normally used to support or protect delicate consumer goods like television sets, radios etc when transporting.
The panels are assembled on site. Once the panels have been assembled and connected to the steel bars on the ground slab, in situ concrete is poured on it on the panels on both sides. Roof, stairs and slabs can be done with these materials.Building a house with EPS has been widely adopted in European /Western countries.
Advantages of EPS Panels.
- Speed of construction a 3 bedroom house can take 4 weeks to build to completion.
- Doesn’t need special equipment to use, and easy to work with during the erection phase.
- Good sound insulation.
- Good Fire and Heat Insulation.
- Long life and low maintenance.
- Cost effective as compared to normal types of materials.
- Reduce the negative environmental impact. Reduce quarry activities, deforestation.
2. Hydraform Interlocking Blocks
Hydraform interlocking block is a walling material made of three inputs, namely soil, cement and sometimes sand. In Kenya it’s also known as MAKIGA interlocking blocks. This is a type of wall material that doesn’t use mortar to bond. It has grooves on all the four sides that lock into each other hence the name interlocking blocks. It can be used for storey building with reinforced columns used to handle the loads. Some of the main of the advantages of this material includes;
- Speedier construction,Building a house with Hydraform blocks is faster than normal building blocks.
- It’s very cost-effective. Save about 40% compared to normal quarry stones.
- It doesn’t require special skills to use hence semi-skilled workers can build the interlocking wall.
3.Pre-Cast Concrete Panels.
This wall material is made by casting concrete in a steel pallet in a factory and curing in a regulated curing chamber. These Pre concrete panels come in various sizes depending on the use. Some can be used for doing the slab work.Pre cast beams are also made to work with the panels.
Boleyn a Chinese company has built a Kshs.3billion factory in Kitengela for manufacturing Pre-cast Concrete panel and Expandable Polystyrene System panels.
Advantages of Pre-Cast Concrete Panels.
- It can cut the construction period and labor by up to 60%. This technology can be used for high-rise apartments, large-scale projects as well as stand-alone. With this material you can build a 2 bedroom house in 8 days
- It has Superior strength durability.
- Provides excellent protection against explosion and severe weather effects.
- High-quality wool with a uniform consistency.
- It has very low maintenance.
The only downside of these panels is special means of transport required in transporting like the low loaders and crane for lifting and installing it on site. So a small project like a single bungalow may be expensive construct using these pre-cast panels.