Kenya to leverage on alternative building technology to bridge housing deficit

By Bai LinUnreguser

NAIROBI, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to leverage on alternative building technology in order to bridge the housing deficit, a government official said on Monday.

Gordon Kihalangwa, principal secretary, State Department of Public Works told journalists in Nairobi that use of technology such as expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels is just as good as constructing with brick and mortar and ensures that projects are completed in less time.

"We want to emulate the advanced countries that have solved their accommodation issues through the use of new technology which is more affordable," Kihalangwa said during the road sector forum on enforcement of construction regulations.

Government data indicates that the east African nation has a housing deficit of approximately two million units while more than half of urban residents live in informal slums.

Kihalangwa added that the building sector must be able to advance with changing technology because of its numerous advantages.

"Alternative building technology is more energy efficient and hence has less negative impact on the environment," he observed.

According to the state department of public works, there are a number of companies that are locally manufacturing EPS panels and this will provide a reliable supply of material for the building sector.

"We would like our local contractors to embrace alternative building technology because that is where the world is going," Kihalangwa said.

He observed that the government will endeavor to train local contractors to be able to use alternative building materials to ensure that housing quality is improved.

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