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US based firm showcases modular building system

*Debuts with Legacy estate in Ibadan

Messrs StRUCtURA CASA Int LLC, a company owned by a Nigerian architect resident in the United States, last week in Lagos unveiled plans to build Legacy Estate in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, using the modular system of building construction. As a forerunner to the project, the company will soon flag off the construction of a prototype estate using the same construction method at New Bodija in the Oyo State capital.

Disclosing these to newsmen, the managing director of the company, Mr Jide Alade explained that the prototype estate which would be named Emerald Court comprises eight units of semi-detached town houses in a secure and serene place within an exclusive serviced estate in New Bodija, Ibadan.

Distinctive features of the prototype estate include landscaped front and rear gardens, private access via individual gates, interlocking concrete pavement and walkways as well as borehole with underground water storage built to last with concrete technology. Emerald Court will also have energy efficient dual glazed windows and attic insulation for interior comfort.

Legacy estate would however be StRUCtURA CASA’s debut housing project in Nigeria. Mr. Alade stated that it is a public private partnership (PPP) project with the Oyo State government which has already allocated 100 acres parcel of land at Kolapo Ishola GRA, Monoto Ibadan for that purpose.

“The estate shall include complete infrastructural developments – roads, water, drainage, sanitation.. There are three product types -serviced plots where you can build your own houses based on our design guidelines.
Just like Victoria Garden City, we will have setbacks and design control. We have our own houses which we will build which are the semi-detached three and four bedrooms. We will also be building the two and three bedroom flats in three and four storey configurations similar to what we have in Dolphin estate. However, we plan a better urban design layout that would have more amenities for the residents. The estate will also have a primary school as well as commercial and recreational amenities for the residents,” Mr. Alade said.

According to him, “The project will start early in 2011. All the pre-development works are going on right now – engineering, architecture, approval process with the Urban and Regional Planning Board and soil/topographic survey. Our engineers are on site doing all the necessary gathering of information to enable us design it properly. We can’t put the cart before the horse; we are following due process. We will commence the marketing campaign early next year”.

Speaking on the choice of Ibadan, Mr. Alade said: “Ibadan is a relatively big city and it hasn’t had such developments. There are a lot of institutions especially educational and research institutions. Actually, Ibadan has the highest concentration of research institutions in Nigeria. There is a middle class in Ibadan that is longing for good housing products and our flashpoints would be targeted at these individuals or families. This is our debut project, we hope to roll it out across the country and even West Africa using this same modular system. We are not just going to build our own projects, we will be servicing other builders and developers, just building purely the shell for them”.

On the Canadian modular system which his company intends to use in the projects, Mr. Alade said it is a relatively new system of mass housing construction that has been used very successfully in Mexico and Brazil and is becoming popular in India. How does it work? Mr Alade explained: “Forms are made from pre-fabricated aluminum frames. A series of forms are joined together edge-to-edge and spaced in parallel with a second series of forms.

As per the structural design, steel reinforcement is placed inside void created once the forms are erected. Wet concrete is poured in this space to cast walls, floors and ceilings. After the concrete within the formwork strengthens, typically within 12 hours, the formwork can be dismantled. A high-quality concrete finish is produced to accurate tolerances and verticality. The superior (machined) tolerance of the finish means that no further plastering (external or internal) is required”.

It is not profitable to use the modular system to build single units. Economy of scale is what

The attributes of the modular system according to Alade include the fact that one can achieve extremely fast construction sequences.

“Light weight panels are small enough for one man to carry while skills required to erect formwork system can be quickly learned with training and supervision. Only small tools and equipment are required; no big cranes are required as we have with pre-cast system,” he said.

It has good quality concrete shell which allows for easier finishing. Similarly no interior or exterior plastering is required. Other attributes include: The same set of aluminum form work can last between 500 and 1000 concrete pour cycles when properly maintained.

*Good choice for repetitive designs in housing schemes of 100 units or more. Larger projects achieve even better economies of scale.

He disclosed that Aluma Systems, a leading worldwide supplier of formwork systems, has developed a new all-aluminum panel system called EasySet, which specifically targets the needs of developing countries such as Nigeria.


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