Leading this push are Lafarge Africa, a member of the LafargeHolcim Group; Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), and West African Ceramics Limited (WACL), which produces Royal brand of tiles, marbles and accessories.
Worried about the high cost of housing construction and rising housing deficit in Nigeria, building materials manufacturers are now pushing aggressively to reduce the cost and bridge the existing gap.
Building materials constitute the largest single input in housing construction. Analysts say about 65 percent of total housing expenditure goes into the purchase of building materials which are over 70 percent imported. Other costs are those of funding and infrastructure (estimated at 30 percent).
These costs, according to analysts, are the reason for the high price tags on houses on the property market. Nigeria is, arguably, adjudged the most expensive housing market in Africa. High construction cost is also the reason Nigeria has a housing deficit estimated at 20 million units.
These explain why Lafarge Africa, the second-largest cement manufacturer in Nigeria with 21.8 percent share of the market and production capacity of 10.5million metric tons is innovating with various building solutions aimed to reduce cost of construction.
Lafarge notes that with growing population, housing needs are in tens/hundreds of millions and with the attendant deficit, there is need to produce houses in millions per annum.
“But the current way of building cannot offer the desired solution; there is lack of innovation and speed and cost of materials and labour is rising,” said Jumoke Adegunle, head, mortar operations at Lafarge Africa.
Adegunle, who spoke at the 15th edition of the Abuja International Housing Conference, noted that because the world, especially Nigeria, is facing environmental and construction challenges, “we need to disrupt the way houses are built–we need to build better, affordable and eco-friendly buildings while maintaining cost-efficient budgets; we need to reduce construction timelines.”
To achieve this, Lafarge has come up with what Adegunle called Construction 3D Printing which is the molding of a structure by placing volumes of material in sequential layers on top of one another from ground up. The material is pushed through a nozzle that regulates flow and is guided by computer-controlled positioning process.