Monday, 31 October 2016

Dry Construction: Good For Social Housing - Engr. Osaz’ ENOBAKHARE

Social housing has been identified as a topical way of solving the housing deficiency issues plaguing the country today. However a means to achieve true social housing has been a subject of continuing debate and research. 
For instance, it is difficult to come to term with the branding of a 2-bedroom bungalow that is selling for a whopping 10 Million Naira as ‘low cost’ but that is still common place. 

Dry construction is one sure way to work that figure down. Dry Construction utilizes the combination of cheap, ‘dry’ and ready-to-assemble components to create living, storage, leisure, learning and working spaces that can stand the test of time and use. 

It may have been developed based on the observation that the ‘wet’ block-and-concrete construction processes normally slows down delivery time and comes with attendant high cost. 

Although the technology is not new, advancement in the technology is what could be said to have boosted its advantage over other similar green technologies. For instance, until lately, most dry construction concepts utilize old metal container to build livable units which many people find aesthetically-repulsive while some others attempts to use paneling materials for walling which are of low acoustic quality and thermal resistance, making the use of the technology unpopular. 

Using latest dry construction technology to overcome wall and framing challenges in a more decent way is really a big plus and the introduction of highly stable dry floors gives a perfect blend to the entire set-up. Roofing and ceiling often come in naturally dry solutions and thus can easily be worked into a dry construction module.

Typical dry construction systems consist of frame and paneled walls/frames and floors made from a combination of steel, PVC and recycled materials as well as special fire-resistant boards to form internal and external walls. 

The entire set-up is so built to allow for adequate functional requirements of strength, firm stability, extended durability, resistance to passage of moisture and heat, anti-rust, good noise reduction co-efficient and so on.  

In order to provide additional resistance to sound and external weather conditions, dry walls usually come imbedded with insulating fibre. To resist excessive wind and vibrations due to internal or external forces or effects, the set-up is designed to be attached firm at ends and joints; making the building ‘rock solid’.

Unlike the conventional method of constructing suspended floors, reinforcement in dry floors are often welded to the receiving panels and plates and then covered with adequately-sized unbreakable polymerized floor units. 

This welding process creates additional stiffness required to safely resist impact and torsion. Depending on design requirements, dry floors can take the same thickness as conventional wet concrete floors and are observed to be generally more stable.  

Since the dry floor material comes finished, it therefore almost completely erases the additional cost of installing floor finishes. However depending on the owner’s requirements, dry floors can still be ultra-finished. But the use of dry floor variants in place of concrete for ground or basement floors is largely unacceptable.

The growing appreciation of dry construction is anchored on the observation that once completed it is pretty difficult to spot the difference between buildings where the technology was employed and the regular ones. 

Using dry construction, it would cost only about 3 Million Naira to build a livable 3-bedroom unit within 30 days but the regular block-concrete type will cost some 5 Million Naira on the average and may take up to 3 months to complete. 

Beyond mass housing, dry construction is being utilized in the construction of halls, open plan offices, multi-storey warehouses and for massive industrial facilities. 

So for social housing enthusiast and the rest of us, dry construction isn’t a bad idea!  

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