For a sprawling city with over 20 million residents for whom housing accommodation is already dire, what Lagos State needs now is a technology that can revolationise housing delivery and that exactly is what Echo Stone has brought into the state along with job creation for the citizens.
Echo Stone, a property development firm, is in Lagos on a joint venture initiative with the state government, through the state ministry of housing, to build 2,000 housing units as part of the state’s planned 20,000 housing units to be delivered in four years under the Lagos Affordable Public Housing (LAPH) initiative.
The company has already deployed its technology for the development of the 2000 housing units across three sites in Badagry, Immota and Ayobo. Expectation is that given its speed of delivering of four units of 2-bedroom bungalows in 14 days, the whole 2,000 units may be ready within 12 months.
At a ground-breaking event recently to mark the commencement of construction work on the first 250 housing units in Badgagry, Anthony Recchia, EchoStone’s Global Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, highlighted the advantages of the Echo Stone technology including industrialisation of housing/labour.
EchoStone housing system is a high quality, rapidly scalable and sustainable construction that approaches housing master plans comprehensively and sustainably, taking into consideration social, environmental and financial factors.
Echo Stone technology is the best response to the rapid urbanisation and population explosion in Lagos which requires radical construction technology to bridge the state’s huge housing deficit estimated at three million units. The state needs to build 20,000 housing units in the next 10 years to close this gap.
“What we really need is industrialisation of labour, along with technology to create the asset which then produces mortgages,’’ Recchia said, noting that construction had not evolved in the last 50 years and that industrialisation would bridge huge demand gap while mortgage institutions could effectively drive supply by enabling demand.
With four houses the technology is going to deliver every 14 days, it is also expected that the entire project in Badagry which sits on 10 hectares of land would be completed within three months and this will be happening alongside training of local artisans to ensure skill transfer to residents of Lagos.
Besides the skills transfer, many jobs are being created and, according to Recchia, “mostly what I see on the job side is that it is gender neutral; men and women are working together with women running the machines and helping with the form-works’’.
Part of the highpoints of the new technology is the use of form-works which, Ander Lindquist, Echo Stone Founder and President, Business Development, said eliminated time wastage and allowed opportunity for construction of a minimum of eight homes daily from ground to carcass.
Furthermore, the technology provides 7.5 percent lower temperature in the homes, thereby reducing the need for air conditioners. “Electrical and plumbing fittings alongside other accessories are done simultaneously with construction and this ensures durability of the facilities for over 50 years without maintenance”, Lindquist assured.
The Badagry project known as Peridot Parkland promises such facilities as green areas, power supply, street lights, sewage reticulation, car parks, among others.
Gbolahan Lawal, Lagos commissioner for housing, explained that the project was part of the “global mission“ of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to construct 20,000 houses in various parts of the state in four years.
The commissioner explained further that the state government was beginning with the 2,000 to be constructed by Echo Stone while other developers would build the balance in the next four years as part of efforts at bridging the deficit in the state.
“This is like an economic revolution because whoever has a home has almost everything because, with that home as collateral, he can obtain a bank credit,’’ he said, pointing out that fast and affordable housing delivery was a priority for the state government, hence the adoption of this speedy construction technology.
Echo Stone was assured of a ready market for their products, not only because of Lagos large population and housing deficit, but also the availability of mortgage facility for buyers. Homebase Mortgage Bank, one of the mortgage banks providing support for purchase of the houses, assured that they had in place all financial capabilities to help residents finance their homeownership dreams.
Source: Chuka Uroko