Government is wedged between a rock and hard place, needing to increase quantity, quality of the current homes being built in a dramatically shorter space of time than it currently takes. As you pointed out in your article, various market forces often conspire to hinder the eradication of the backlog. More money alone is not part of the solution. There is a paradox in housing delivery that ensures that the better the economic conditions become in a country the more difficult it is for a government to deliver adequate houses.
The 2.2m backlog in South Africa, 10m one in China and 400,000 one in the UK illustrates the point. By way of example, if the additional R102bn that is estimated to be required would be made available, the lag in additional import and manufacturing capacity would mean that demand forces would increase the prices of materials in a prohibitive way as many construction booms have shown.
According to Fred Weitsz, Imisonâ„˘ already builds much higher specification homes in the subsidy sector for the same subsidy as much lower specification houses delivered using traditional methods. [Our houses are plastered and painted internally and externally as opposed to an unplastered and bag washed maxi brick walls. Our houses have EPS in the foundation and sisalation 405 in the roof for insulation that extends not only to the walls but that combats rising cold from the floor and the roof.] Not only is the government able to deliver its promises quicker and provide more families with decent homes but it is possible to do this at the same cost as competitors. This is not necessarily due to fact that the materials are much cheaper but that there are significant cost benefits to be harvested due to the time value of money.
Consider a brick and mortar contractor who has to commit R10,000 to materials and labour to build a house. If that contractor can only complete that house in 3 months time then that margin, for the sake of example R5,000.00, will only accrue to them in the fourth month after committing it. As we able to commit the same R10,000, complete construction in 14 days and obtain that margin at the end of the month in which it was committed, we can obtain 3 times the margin off the same R10,000 in the same time as the traditional contractor. In high volume projects, we are then able to offer more houses in number, higher in specification and quality at the cost of the government subsidy. Just these simple adjustments would allow the government a huge step forward in delivery with fewer resources than with traditional bricks and mortar.
However, government does have a concern, and rightly so, about equitable distribution. Imisonâ„˘ has the ambition to supply its technology for use by large reputable contractors who have to deliver on large scale projects and who have the requisite attention to quality. In this way the benefits of the technology can accrue to more than just Imisonâ„˘ and ensure that as many projects as possible are complete with the technology. Adopting Imisonâ„˘ would not lead to job losses as the training required can be transferred in very short space of time as is continually done by training unskilled local labourers who work on our sites. As a result of this ability to use local unskilled labour, Imisonâ„˘ does not face a prospect of a shortage of skilled labour removing another common hindrance to effective housing delivery.
The prefabricated nature of the technology means that even tasks that traditionally require a lot of skill can be simplified through the use of materials that are accurate in measurement and simplified method of installation anytime. To fit all the windows and doors into a 40m2 Imisonâ„˘ house takes approximately 40 minutes.
Imisonâ€™s success in the all important area of social acceptance means there is now an alternative building that has obtained social acceptance in every segment of the housing market clearing the largest and most stubborn obstacle to the widespread use of alternative building technology.
Similar dynamics allow Imisonâ„˘ to eradicate backlogs worldwide.