Vitapur Nigeria Limited, the promoter of a new building technology, is a subsidiary of Vitafoam plc, a household name in Nigeria reputed for its quality and durable bed mattresses used in many homes.
Vitapur’s Green Homes (prefab) initiative is one opportunity thrown up by the challenges in the housing market which is not only eco-friendly, but also fast and relatively cheap.
The initiative, which has capacity to deliver a two-bedroom bungalow in just 15 days, raises hope of homeownership for low-income earners, especially first-time home buyers, as that house-type goes for as ‘low’ as N3.6 million as against what the market presently offers.
Vitapur, according to Toyin Bankole, the managing director, was born out of Vitafoam’s diversification strategy aimed at increasing their market share and enhancing the income stream of the group.
“The prefabrication method of building is not a new technology,” Bankole said in an interview with BusinessDay in Lagos, adding, “but with our Green Home Prefab, we are doing it differently with some advantages which distinguish us from others; one major advantage we have is that we can produce as many units as possible within a short space of time”.
Continuing, he said, “our materials are fire-resistant; we use galvanised and pre-painted steel in our construction and have properties that insulate and control temperature such that, no matter the degree of hotness outside, our rooms remain cool. Insulation property is the major advantage we have over other materials. Our materials are also sound-proof and are environmentally friendly”, he assured.
Bankole said that, in terms of price, their building is about 35 percent lower or cheaper than a conventional building, disclosing that given the way their system is structured, the higher the number, the lower the price.
“Again, depending on the number, we can produce a house in 15 days. We design and do costing based on the client’s brief. So, for a studio house of say, two-bedroom bungalow with two toilets, the cost is as low as N3.65 million,” he said.
The managing director disclosed that because their products are oil-oriented, the local content in what they offer is as high as 80 percent, adding that with these products, they have done pretty good jobs for a good number of clients including Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos.
In IIelsa, Osun State, he said, the state government has given them a big project involving the construction of some classroom and administrative buildings in one of the schools in the state.
“The Satellite Town Development Authority (STDA) in Abuja is asking us to come over and do something similar for them. Ekiti State government is also asking us to build about 100 units of housing for them. So, we have numerous demands and enquiries,” he enthused, hoping that in the next five years, prefabrication would be the way to go, “and we are building public confidence in the product.”