The Nigerian property market was excited recently when a new block moulding technology was introduced into the country by Growth and Employment in States (GEMS2) with production demonstrations at various locations in Abuja and Lagos.
The introduction of the new batching mixing machine known as Concrete MD into Nigerian market is being facilitated by GEMS2, a development programme funded by UKAid (DFID), working in Nigeria’s construction and real estate sector, with the objective of increasing incomes and creating jobs for the poor.
At a press conference in Lagos to announce the arrival of the batch mixing technology and also to create awareness through the media, GEMS technical director, Ronald Ashkin said apart from their mission of creating employment and reducing poverty, the purpose of intruding the new technology was also to guard against building collapse, which results from low quality building materials.
He noted that 90 percent of buildings in Nigeria were constructed with concrete blocks, pointing out that problems in block making caused by hand measure/mix using shovels result from imprecise measurement and inconsistent mixing.
According to him, the new technology comes with immense and economics, explaining that it is capable of mass producing blocks up to 500 units at about 60 percent less time than it would take a manual moulder to produce same quantity of blocks per day.
Ashkin enthused that during their demonstrations at Abuja and Lagos, which had a consultant from the USA on site, 150 block makers attended demonstration and also their training events in late May and early June.
Of this number, he said, 98 were at Rasco in Ipaja, Lagos, while 52 were at Afro Blocks in Abuja, adding that about 106 people whose firms employed 809 workers, including 115 women, responded to surveys they conducted on the new machine.
“Of those surveyed, 96 percent had never seen the technology before; 85 percent experience poor quality block due to mixing and measurement problems; 86 percent agreed that the equipment demonstrated would solve their problems with quality; 100 percent found the demonstration useful; 94 percent expressed interest in buying the equipment for their business, while 41percent said they would buy within the next 12 months,” he said.
According to him, imprecise measurement and inconsistent mixing result in poor quality block and building collapse, saying that Concrete MD solves three problems – precise and consistent measurement, consistent mixture, and self-powered unit with its own generator, all of which result in “consistent better quality and stronger block.”
The implications of the new technology, he pointed out further, are that better quality block on the market will help ameliorate the problem of building collapse, as higher quality block means higher value added and higher incomes for Nigerian block makers.