A new housing company, Global Building Systems; ‘Habiquad’ launched its first prefabricated house in La Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara Friday last.
In attendance at the event were Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Republic Bank officials and other interested persons who were seeking information about the company and its construction designs.
The building was constructed for Mr. Leon Matthews and his family who accessed a loan from Citizens Bank.
Habiquad was registered in October 2010, with the Ministry of Housing.
The buildings which cost $4.5M, are two-bedroom, single-bath residences, and can be constructed in six weeks. Each can be upgraded, which will differentiate the price. The house is also designed to specification based on the order and is put together like a giant puzzle. Only the foundation is concrete. However, concrete can also be added to other sections if needed.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Habiquad, James Saleh, at the unveiling ceremony of the Matthews’ home, said that the prefabricated house is made of natural non-toxic materials that help ensure the health and safety of inhabitants.
He explained that the materials used are recycled materials that have high insulation qualities that reduce energy consumption.
Adding that the materials qualify for the energy start rating given by the US Department of Energy, the Habiquad CEO said that the manufacturing process does not create toxic waste and contains no asbestos.
He added that the materials also contain no chlorofluorocarbons (an organic compound that contains carbon, chlorine, and fluorine, produced as a volatile derivative of methane and ethane) known to contribute to ozone depletion and negatively impact long term climate conditions.
Underscoring that the Habiquad structures are proven equal to or better than traditional buildings under extreme circumstances, Saleh said the structure can withstand Hurricane-force winds up to 110 MPH, earthquakes, structural integrity, and has up to 75 per cent less heat loss than traditional stick and cement structures.
Saleh further noted that the structures are naturally sound retardant and are excellent for use in multi-unit structures due to low noise transmission.
He said there is also optional roofing called ‘SUTUF’ which has a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty and are impact, chemical, and flame resistant which also blocks 100 per cent of harmful UV rays.
Housing developer and Managing Director of Habiquad, Vernon Wilson, says that the building material being used for the external wall is fibre cement boards added with 50 per cent porcelain cement, which is 99 per cent biodegradable.
Wilson said that the internal walls are made of polyethylene, which is also used on the flooring in addition to sheetrock which is also biodegradable.
He said that the houses that will be built will be low maintenance, since owners would not have to worry about the walls cracking or sinking, boards shrinking or breakage to the walls from a heavy hit.
Adding that the building structure can be built up to three stories high, without structural steel and pass national and international building codes for structural integrity, fire, earthquake and moisture, the Managing Director said the building is capable of withstanding a category five hurricane and a magnitude three earthquake.
“That is how strong the structure is. When the building is completed, no one would ever know that it was a pre-fab house…One of these houses will be given a 20-year guarantee.”
Underscoring that there are plans to seek government permission to build an industrial manufacturing site in Linden where 400 persons can be employed, Mr Wilson said that prefabricated homes are dwellings manufactured off-site in advance, usually in standard sections that can be easily shipped and assembled.
Marketing Director of Habiquad, Allison Butters-Grant, said that a typical 1,500-square foot Habiquad structure can be delivered to the construction site, ready-to-assemble, in 30 days or less.
She said that would reduce construction time and manpower, since a one-story 1,500 square foot building takes a crew of six trained workers approximately one week to assemble, with reduced construction waste and reduced cost of clean-up.
Adding that the material would arrive onsite in pre-cut lightweight sections so it can be fastened together using ordinary power tools, the Marketing Director disclosed that the company is dedicated to bringing safe, affordable housing and community structures to the people who need them most.
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