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Demand for container housing peaks in Nigerian cities

By Victor Gbonegun
03 June 2019   |   4:26 am
With the housing sector still challenged by affordability issues, adoption of container technology is increasingly taking shape for residential and commercial segments of the real estate market.

Tempo Housing serviced apartments in Lagos

With the housing sector still challenged by affordability issues, adoption of container technology is increasingly taking shape for residential and commercial segments of the real estate market.

The innovation is fast being deployed to create Nigeria’s tailored made solution to the housing problem based on its unique potential of quick to build, portability, environmental friendly, affordability and most importantly ease to maintain.

Allied Market Research recent report shows that the global container homes market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5 per cent from 2018 to 2025, driven by reduced construction time, cost-effectiveness, ease of installation and relocation, and growing awareness towards developing green building concept for resource efficiency.

The duplex/bungalow segment would continue to dominate the market in the future, while multi-storey building/apartments segment is expected to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast period. According to the report, the global container homes market generated $44.76 billion in 2017 and is anticipated to garner $73.07 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 6.5 per cent during the forecast period.

The growth of the global container homes market is driven by technological advancements that have reduced the cost and time required for construction, along with simplifying the process of installation.

Market growth is also supplemented by the rise in government initiatives that promote green building concept for resource efficiency. However, the high possibility of corrosion in homes constructed with old containers and large investment in HVAC systems hamper market growth. Nonetheless, the dearth of housing units in developing countries and increasing focus towards affordable housing structures is poised to create lucrative opportunities for emerging market players in the near future.

According to experts, all the strength is contained in the structural elements themselves and the foundation design is simpler and less expensive. Also steel conducts heat very well, so the containers†will normally have to be better insulated than most brick, block or wood structures. Container structures stand out in terms of quality of intent and delivery and are well insulated to prevent outside cold or heat being transmitted through walls, ceiling and floor into the interior.

The technology offers adequate protection from fire coming from outside to inside or from inside going to the next floor, well ventilated to create a healthy indoor environment, safe wiring schedule with safety breakers convenient for all set of wall sockets and sustainable use of materials.

One of the companies driving the innovation in Nigeria is Tempo Housing Nigeria (THN), which specializes in the design and manufacturing of structures using mainly standard ISO shipping containers as well as other prefab modules. It leveraged decades of technology pioneered in the Netherland to provide solution for the housing crisis.

An official of the firm, Dele Ijaiya-Oladapo explained that the firm’s ability to educate and share with the general public the possibility and advantages of building with cargotecture using some of her delivered projects has given a significant rise to the use of containers for habitable spaces like homes, hospitals, banks and other developments nationwide.

According to him, despite an initial slow uptake, they have seen increased demand over the solution in the last four years as Nigerians are fast adopting the concept due to the time and cost savings it afford them. He disclosed that 20 per cent of projects executed so far with the technology are residential and 80 per cent commercial.

Expounding on the type of housing that the solution could deliver, Ijaiya-Oladapo said, “One can erect any kind of structure as it is generally regarded as flexible and aesthetically pleasing. In other words, you can build a studio apartment, one to three bedrooms flat (bungalows or block of flats), duplexes, triplexes. A container structure can go as high as three to four storeys in this region and can also be used to build an estate.

“The use of the construction system allows for the quick construction and easy transportation of container homes to any location. The solution is based on the principle that housing units are similar to shipping containers, so the transport options are universal. Our residential and commercial units can be constructed quicker and 25 per cent cheaper than conventional methods and these units are functional for either permanent or temporary use.

“We have developed quite a number of projects across the nation in which most projects have been done in Lagos. Other locations are Oyo,Ogun, Kano, Gombe Kaduna, Anambra, Enugu, Edo, Delta states. Some of the projects are apartments, office complexes, church extensions, bank branches, ATMs, drone centres, school projects, hospital projects, warehouses, workshops, laboratories, pop up stores, among others.”

Ijaiya-Oladapo, a managing partner with the firm, observed that the adoption of a new concept in Nigeria usually takes time, especially when it is not a familiar concept within the African continent regardless of its advantages.He stressed that most people are driven or believe on what they see compared to what they hear. However, he stated that with the number of container projects springing up across the nation, more individuals, companies and even the government would soon key into the use of the technology.

“One of the major challenges which we are slowly overcoming is the ability to convince the masses that they can live a box. A survey was once carried out where the masses were asked if they could live in a container and most of them said no simply because they believe it would be very hot. Educating them about the insulation process may not do so much but building structures across the nation and getting them to see that real humans live and work in a container will help in repositioning their mindset about the possibility of living in a cargotecture structure”, he said.