Echostone technology rekindles hope for affordable, mass housing
It was a defining moment for stakeholders in the built environment, when a property development firm, EchoStone Nigeria Limited last week unveiled its first house built in exactly 14 days. The feat, which experts said, rekindled hopes for a timely delivery of homes in Nigeria, was seen as a boost to government’s mass housing project and efforts at bridging the 17 million housing deficits in the country.
Elated by the speedy delivery of the project, Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Gbolahan Lawal, said: “Echostone represent technology at its best. Lawal, who spoke at a ribbon cutting ceremony held in the premises of the Lagos State Vocational Education Centre compound in Agidingbi, Ikeja, where the prototype building is located, said the house built in 14 days, is a proof that when technology is deployed, development will be faster.
“It is satisfying to know that a 64 square metre house can be completed from scratch to bottom in just 14 days. Echostone is fired up to do more because of the response they have received from government. They have the funding and technological know-how to help us greatly in tackling the housing deficit in the state,” Lawal said.He consequently solicited for public support for Echostone, assuring the firm that its investment would yield good return in the state.
According to him, the state government was already in talks with the developer to work out a modality of deploying the same technology to assist the state in building compact storey buildings, saying it is the right step to really accommodate Lagos residents.“We want to build compact storey buildings.We are in discussion with Echostone and they have assured us that it is doable,” Lawal said.
For the Chief Executive Officer and co-Founder of Echostone, Anthony Rechia, the delivery of the building in 14 days and the handing over of the keys to the government is a feat that many thought would be impossible. “So, we have made the impossible possible in just 14 days,” he said.
EchoStone co-founder and president, Business Development, Mr. Ander Lindquist, said the ceremony attended by major players in the real estate industry was a promise kept. He stressed that the firm is looking forward to building more houses in the state and country at large.
The managing director of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Mr. Kehinde Ogundimu, said the company is set to remove the barrier to home ownership by providing liquidity to achieve its goal. He stressed that NMRC is determined to make affordable accommodation a reality, especially, in Lagos state, where the demand acutely fall below supply.
“EchoStone technology is a much needed solution to the housing deficit in Lagos state in particular, and Nigeria as a whole. These problems, he noted will never be solved if we continue to build in the traditional way of one block at a time”, he added.Also the Managing Director, Families Home Fund (FHF), Mr. Femi Adewole, indicated the willingness of FHF to engage EchoStone Nigeria, in the provision of 100,000 housing units in four years with the memorandum already in the pipeline.
“We have a product known as Home Loans Assistance, put in place by the federal government’s social intervention to assist the Nigerian people in getting decent but affordable accommodation.”Besides the provision of housing, the scheme will create huge employment opportunities for the Nigerian youth. This, we will do in conjunction with the Lagos state government, which has shown an enormous goodwill that attracts the attention of foreign firms such as EchoStone America”, he added.
On the completed prototype, a director of EchoStone Nigeria, Mr. Sammy Adigun assured that the firm will meet the housing needs of Lagos residents, with the support of all the relevant stakeholders, without compromising quality. He extolled the firm for identifying the need for improvement in the building sector.
Operations Officer, Green Building Lead, Accra, Ghana, of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mr. Dennis Quansah, also stated that Nigeria’s future depends on how it is built today. He said the building, which is exactly what Echostone is putting up in Peridot Parkland Estate, Idale, Badagry is built green per the standards of IFC’s Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) certification.
The Peridot Parkland Estate, he said, has been designed to achieve impressive EDGE ratings, including 29 per cent Energy Savings, 35 per cent water savings, 43 per cent less Embodied Energy in materials. “These savings will ensure that the utility bills for the housing units will be minimised and contribute to a reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” Quansah said.
It will be recalled that Echostone announced a fortnight ago that it is deploying an innovative technology which allows for rapid and scalable construction, in the construction of a 250 units of two bedroom detached bungalows in Idale, Badagry LGA. The estate will be fitted with state-of-the-art facilities.
Under the terms of agreement with the Lagos state government, a total of 2,000 housing units are to be constructed in three Local councils in the state , namely Ayobo in Alimosho, Idale, Badagry and Imota in Ikorodu LGA.