Erecting a structure does not require heavy machinery or electricity, and the building materials required are easily accessible and sourced locally, spreading the benefits to local communities.
Hennie Botes, CEO of Moladi, explains that a “house in a container” concept is employed for social housing initiatives, whereby all the materials supplied are packaged conveniently into a container that is then delivered to the building site. “All the tools and equipment required to train local unskilled communities are on hand, and as a result the success of the construction process is completely independent of its location. “
Moladi is able to meet any building standards or regulations, as the system produces walls that are of high-quality.
Botes says that the company employs a distribution model whereby anyone who would like to use Moladi for his/her housing projects is able to access the technology in his/her local territory through a designated distributor or directly through headquarters in South Africa.
Technology and components
“Moladi’s housing solution combines a reusable, patented, recyclable, lightweight plastic injection moulded formwork system with a South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)-approved lightweight aerated mortar mix to produce a cast in-situ steel reinforced monolithic structure,” Botes states.
“The formwork components are fully interlocking and are assembled into easy to-handle panels, which are configured into a full-scale mould of the desired structure. The formwork panels are joined to create the external and internal walls cavities and all of the steel reinforcing,window and door block-outs, conduits, pipes and other fittings are positioned within the wall cavity to be cast in-place when filled with the Moladi mortar mix. “The wall cavities are filled simultaneously with a SABS-approved mortar mix which contains, cement, water, river sand, and Moladi Chem. The mortar mixture produces a fast-curing aerated mortar that flows easily, and results in a wall that is waterproof and
possesses good thermal and sound insulating properties,” he says. “After the wall cavities have been filled with the mortar, the mortar is left to set overnight and the formwork panels are removed the following morning to be re-erected on the next foundation.
“The wall has a smooth and flat finish that does not require any plastering, beam filling or chasing. All Moladi structures have steel reinforced internal and external walls. The reinforcing design is specified by a structural engineer, who independently certifies the structure after construction is completed and the final inspections are carried out.
“The result is a fast track, cost effective and transferable construction technology that is amortised over 50 re-uses, reducing the cost of construction and transportation significantly. It also facilitates the possibility for many in-situ structures to be built in just one day,” he states.
According to Botes, the Moladi mould is easily adapted to suit any required design or layout – there are no limitations with regard to the size, or room arrangements of a house. There is also no ‘standard’ mould as each mould is specifically manufactured (assembled) to meet the specifications of each client’s architect or draughtsman. “Moladi is able to accommodate any type of roof design or covering, any finishing material, any type of window or door, so there are no limitations in terms of cultural preferences,” he says. “We also produce an acoustically solid wall (sounds like a brick wall) with a smooth plastered finish. Should a client/contractor have a preference to clad or plaster the finished wall, this can also be done.”
He says most traditional and alternative construction methods require certain skilled and trained artisans to contribute towards the structural integrity of a building. “In many cases, especially within South Africa, skilled artisans are not available or skilled workers are wrongfully replaced with a cheaper, unskilled workforce, resulting in shoddy and unfit structures.
“With its streamlined and simplistic approach to construction, the application of our technology is not dependent on skilled labour or artisans for construction, enabling the community to become involved in building their own homes. Over 90% of the construction team on a Moladi housing site consists of unskilled labourers, and women are encouraged to participate in this non labour intensive building process.”
Botes says that the Moladi construction method has been specifically designed with the objective to allow for an unskilled team of people to follow the company’s optimised, repetitive and sequential processes that eliminate the probability of any errors occurring, which is crucial to the outcome of the structural quality or integrity of the housing unit.
Hennie Botes, CEO of Moladi, explains that the selection and use of building materials relating to the Moladi construction process is considered a crucial aspect in determining the environmental sustainability of the technology. “Although the calculation of embodied energy is a complex matter and differs from region to region, building materials used in the Moladi construction process have been carefully considered according to the initial and recurring embodied energy that is used or expended during the life cycle and operation of each material,” says Botes. “Some additional, but notable, factors which affect the overall energy consumption of a structure – and which are often mismanaged
within the affordable housing industry – include non-essential transportation, wasteful packaging, plentiful waste of materials resulting from processing and construction methods, and also poor dumping and disposal methods.”
“Materials are rarely recycled or even re-used and poor workmanship, the utilisation of substandard materials and the use of materials and components which have a dissimilar and inconsistent durability, leave the home owner with a highmaintenance home which requires frequent repair and even large-scale restoration.
“Lastly, passive design principles for the appropriate climate that help to minimise the energy required to heat, cool, ventilate and light a building responsibly are largely ignored in favour of a cheaper initial cost outlay,” Botes states.
“These factors are all taken into account to ensure that Moladi buildings provide environmental value by challenging members of the construction industry who are quick to ignore the long term use and quality of a building in favour of the short term savings enjoyed by the developer
Moladi: Tel +27 41 379 2600; fax +27 86 502 6930; www.moladi.net