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Affordable houses built with precast products


Affordable houses built with precast products

With affordable housing backlogs growing developers are increasingly turning to precast concrete products to speed-up construction times while improving build quality of houses.

Affordable houses today can be built almost entirely from easy-to-use precast materials from hollow-core floor slabs, to walls and roof tiles. Depending on requirements many peripherals such as stairs, window sills, basins, counters and other precast units are adding value to the houses and lending a quality touch.

Frans Minnaar, director of the Concrete Manufacturers Association NPC (CMA), also points to precast concrete products as a means of ensuring quality materials and preventing costly repairs and rebuilds. Due to skills shortages on the ground contractors realise that the best way of ensuring quality construction is to have units precast in a factory under controlled conditions and more easily assembled on site.

Material of choice

“Whether it be hollow core floors mated to tilt-up walls, or large oversize masonry units that reduce brick-laying requirements tenfold, there are solutions that work. Then there are age-old traditional building products such as concrete bricks (masonry units), wall tiles, lintels, beams and a myriad of other concrete products that are commonly used throughout the construction phase.

“When one looks at adjoining infrastructure and service it is also clear to see how precast concrete simplifies construction from pipes, drains, paving and kerbs, to lampposts, fences and retaining walls, there is hardly a single area of construction that does not benefit from factory, mass produced concrete products”.

“Imagine a contractor sitting on the side of the road trying to in-situ cast kerb stones? It will take days and then the mixes have to be thoroughly controlled and flow of traffic and pedestrians will have to be stopped. Thanks to precast kerbs the unit is simply lifted into place, grouted and is ready to use in a matter of hours. The same applies to houses nowadays and progressive developers and contractors have already adopted precast products and are using it widely on their construction sites,” says Frans.

Built right

He adds that buyers also prefer houses built from precast concrete products because they are straight, structurally sound and can be made to be virtually maintenance free requiring no plastering or even painting if units are coloured with pigments during the casting process. Shorter delivery times also mean that buyers have shorter waiting times which can dramatically improve their satisfaction level.

The CMA is actively involved with all sectors of the construction industry, as well as Government, developers and contractors. To facilitate better quality housing, the association also publishes preapproved housing plans which can be downloaded and adapted to meet developers or buyer’s requirements. The plans meticulously document all the materials required to build the house, as well as highlighting applicable SANS specifications and make allowance for local bylaws to be incorporated into the final build.

Various technical publications are available from the association. To find out more about precast concrete building solutions or precast products visit the association’s 


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