A New School

A new school for pre-primary learners was completed this month by Tutungeni Precast and handed over to HappyDu, an Italian non-governmental organisation operating a number of schemes in Namibia.

In fact, Tutungeni’s construction team has moved on to Rundu to complete another of these projects in time for next year’s school-opening. The magic of the collaboration between HappyDu and Tutungeni, lies in the affordability, speed and versatility of the buildings Tutungeni is offering.
Namibia’s housing backlog can be addressed by cutting red tape and accepting innovation. Especially in the low-cost housing categories, there are many innovative, off the shelf, answers for the short-age of thousands of units for the poorest of the poor, while these building methods can provide immediate solutions to catastrophic events like resettlement after shack fires and natural disasters.
In this regard Tutungeni Precast came up with such an alternative building method some years ago already and went through the laborious process of getting all the required certification from a number of local authorities in an effort to roll out some serious numbers.

In fact, with Swakopmund’s Municipality as the latest subscriber, township life at the coast is set to change forever and with a little help from friends (in the financing business or perhaps employers providing housing for employees) decent living conditions in the informal settlements are now a very real possibility.
To take the concept of precast buildings further and to demonstrate the worth of the methodology, the managing director of Tutungeni, Mr Wessel Loubser, is now busy with the construction of yet another school in Swakopmund’s Mondesa Suburb. Funds for the school was donated by an Italian non-governmental organisation, HappyDu (www. happydu.org) who, are no strangers to Namibia. A similar structure for pre-schoolers and after school care were erected by Tutungeni in the Havana-town-ship in Windhoek. In the same fashion a number of government schools in remote areas were erected, while farmers and industry has called in the expertise of Tutungeni.

Most importantly, Tutungeni’s contribution to cheaper, durable housing, that is designed for individual taste, style and affordability is cutting it with banks and urban authorities alike. Swakopmund, Windhoek, Rundu, Rehoboth and a number of other jurisdictions are comfortable with the Tutungeni-product, as long as all certification is in place and the structures have been signed off by structural engineers. At least one commercial bank is on board and willing to finance such houses, subject to some very normal commercial conditions.
In Namibia, where access to affordable housing re-mains an almost insurmountable task, the Tutungeni concept might just be the answer to persistent socio-economic challenges. Namibians demand housing and a place to call home.
With the number of structures already erected in urban areas, the Tutungeni Building concept has now evolved into a bankable investment for venture capitalist to consider. “Of course,”, said Mr Loubser, “we will listen to prospective investors who might be interested in investing in our company. That is business and we offer a proven concept, with a back-up of history, all the negotiations with local authorities, banks and engineers. It is, in the light of the housing backlog and the variety of housing needs that exists, perhaps one of the best investment opportunities one can think of. Just recently, the Minister of Fisheries, Mr Derek Klazen, mentioned that donating tins of fish as social responsibility is not always the answer. Perhaps the big players in the fishing industry should invest in housing for certain categories of workers and get workers out of the ghetto’s they are now living in.”

Tutungeni Precast’s flagship projects remain the two schools that were build in Windhoek and at Swakopmund for the Italian NGO, HappyDu. These projects were done cheaply, in budget and on time, demonstrating the effectiveness of the building innovation. After all, it is precast, it is plastered, painted and properly roofed to last a lifetime. What is more, Tutungeni delivers a product that is affordable and it can be financed, insured and as it is modular in design, it can be added on to.
Tutungeni’s houses comes with water and electricity connections, basic finishes as to customer’s request and within local authority specs. Tutungeni has a portfolio of projects that varies from schools, clinics, tourism, housing for labourers, store rooms, shops and temporary shelter at mines that were later turned into pro-per houses.
If the Tutungeni building concept was utilised in Walvis Bay, when 134 ghettos were destroyed in a massive fire last year, the comparative example could be considered that many more houses could have bee built in a fraction of the time it took to house the victims, said Mr Loubser. “In the main, the Tutungeni-structure is built on a normal foundation and surface base with pre-fabricated panels that is then plastered and painted over. The roofing structure is designed from light steel galvanised steel, and at the coast we use fibre cement roofing plates. The speed and durability are in the simplicity of the structures,” he said.
As these houses are built in modelled sections, owners can add to structures as and when the need arises.

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