Strong population growth in many developing and emerging countries and mass urbanization – an estimated 40,000 people moving into African cities every day – create a strong demand for affordable housing. Beyond housing, many developing countries are lagging behind in access to social infrastructure and public services such as schools, hospitals or the justice system. Consider Tanzania: the country faces a shortage of 3,115 courtrooms.
Moladi Construction System aims to address that magnificent challenge by providing a scalable, low-tech and low-skilled affordable building solution using in-situ casting. Founded in 1986 by South African social entrepreneur Hennie Botes, the company aims to replace the classic brick-and-mortar construction with an easier method: using lightweight, removable and re-usable plastic formwork that are filled with a patented fast setting aerated mortar to cast entire houses on-site. The process is deliberately designed to be labor intensive and mostly uses local supplies (apart from the reusable formwork and a special additive (MoladiChem) to boost local employment and local production without requiring prior construction experience.
Train the unemployed to build for the homeless.
Hennie Botes, Founder and CEO
The main advantage of this affordable construction solution is its social acceptance – a challenge encountered by any affordable building project, especially if the solution is imported from abroad. In the case of Moladi, its integration into a wider effort to boost the community and the fact that people can knock on the cast walls to check for solidity – the sound is the same solid sound as traditional brick-and-mortar walls – helps to gain immediate approval. Gypsum-board walls for instance are regarded as less strong and weather resistant. As a consequence, the solution has been applied in 20 countries in Africa (e.g. South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania), South Asia (Sri Lanka) and Latin America (Mexico, for two-storey buildings and Panama) and the company is currently planning expansion into the United Kingdom.
Due to its strong track record and advantages, the government of Tanzania has selected Moladi as the most cost-effective solution to address its courthouse shortages. A 1,200 square metres pilot project has been successfully completed – faster and cheaper than alternative solutions – and the courthouse was inaugurated by the Tanzania’s Prime Minister.
Download the full case study to read more about the application of Moladi’s Construction System to these larger projects and the special barriers the company had to overcome.