New affordable building system

The You-Can Building System not only makes high quality housing affordable, it also presents an economically and socially sustainable solution for the low-cost housing segment, says Jan Hartkamp, Chairman and System Developer of the You-Can system.

“L ower building costs are realised through optimisation, consistent elimination of costs related to traditional building methods, and economies of scale. Compared to existing building methods, savings of up to 30% of the total construction costs are realised using the You-Can system,” Hartkamp states.

“Low costs are achieved through savings in the following areas:

• Design and calculation. No architectural and negligible calculation costs due to supply of complete housing and building kits resulting in finished, turnkey houses and buildings.

• Labour. Due to pre-shaped building elements and a simple construction process, less labour – especially skilled labour – is required to construct a house.

• Handling and transportation. Due to the low weight of the elements, handling and transportation costs are kept down.

• Materials and cleaning. Waste of materials is kept to a minimum because no cutting or shaving is required, spillage of blocks or mortar is virtually non-existent and there is no need for plastering or painting. Little waste means low cleaning costs on the construction site. Water savings of up to 90% are possible due to the use of on-site liquid sealing mortar.

Overheads. Due to an efficient and fast construction process, overhead and supervision costs are kept to a minimum.

• Maintenance. Maintenance costs for the block structure, doors, windows and roof structure are negligible due to the use of strong materials and the strength of structure.”

The product

The blocks are made from CLC (cellular lightweight concrete) with a density of 1,200kg/m3. The company uses cement sand, or fly ash and concentrate, so that the blocks reach a strength of up to 7 MPA in 28 days. The block range consists of straight, half, L-tee, R-tee, L-corner and R-corner – each is patented and has a SABS certificate. The blocks have high thermal and acoustic insulation qualities and high water-resistance and fire-protection qualities as they are sealed with an excellent method and product. FlowcreteSDE

Positioning and franchising

Hartkamp explains that the You-Can Building System has been designed to provide a low-cost, high-quality housing solution for countries that face large housing backlogs in their low-cost and middle-class housing segments. “The system combines a simple construction process with an affordable housing concept that is characterised by strength of structure, durability, low maintenance requirements, and high aesthetic and environmental standards.

“The very features of the system, the design of the production process and the design of the business structure are all based on this positioning strategy and converge into a very clear marketing concept,” he states.

The You-Can Building System will operate in future under licence of You-Can International, using a franchise structure. This will only start after the first unit is in full production later this year. Prices will depend on what is in the house, says Hartkamp. “We have a range of drawings available on our website that are within the subsidy range of the government for reconstruction and development programme houses, and effectively get a 40 sq metre house to look the same as a 100 sq metre house.

Interest shown

According to Hartkamp, business people and government delegations have visited the company’s show house in Montagu, Western Cape, and were very impressed with the You-Can System. “CEOs of overseas companies, architects and engineers from Brazil, the US, and Europe have asked us to start up in their countries. But for us it was important to start in southern Africa. We received a government delegation from Namibia in July 2011, including the governor of the Erongo region, mayors of Walvis Bay and Arandis with their technical assistants, and other business people. This resulted in a letter of intent from the governor for 2,000 houses in the Erongo district, which means that we will be erecting the first production unit in Namibia. We are currently working with investors to finalise a deal for funding the project.” You Can International: Tel +27 23 614 1283; fax +27 23 614 1283; jan@youcaninternational.co.za; www.youcaninternational.co.za

Minimal construction difficulties

• No levelling or aligning – auto-aligning • No spacing – no vertical joints • No cutting – pre-shaped • No plastering • No building rubble – save 12% • No shaving or adjustment – pre-drilled and tapped door/window frames • No cutting and re-plastering – cast in accessory blocks for electricity, water and ventilation • No tile-cutting • 90% water saving on site – liquid-sealing mortar.