Dawn Group and LEPA showcase sustainable building alternatives - 2011-10-20
The benefits of sustainable development in South African construction projects have been showcased on a national scale in a joint initiative between The Dawn Group and LEPA.
20 October, 2011: The Dawn Group, which is a leading South African manufacturer and distributor of quality branded hardware, sanitaryware, plumbing, kitchen, engineering and civil products has teamed up with Lightweight Energy Panels Africa (LEPA) to showcase the advantages of cost effective and sustainable building alternatives to the housing market.
LEPA specialises in the manufacture and installation of lightweight energy panels for residential and commercial construction projects, which are an environmentally friendly and cost effective substitute for industry standard bricks and cement. LEPA successfully constructed two 80 m² semi-detached double storey houses within 23 days in Blue Downs, Cape Town, as part of the Legacy project, which was established in July 2011 to showcase innovative housing solutions for the construction sector.
Dawn brands executive Bob Haynes points out that following LEPA’s successful completion of the homes, The Dawn Group provided all piping solutions and sanitaryware for the prototype units from its relevant divisions. These included taps from Cobra and Isca, bathroom products from Vaal, Libra and Plexicor and the cost effective Plomyclick push-fit pipe connection systems from DPI Plastics - a leading manufacturer of water reticulation, drainage and pipe-fitting systems.
“The Legacy Project showcases the use of alternative technologies to create eco-friendly and vibrant communities. The Dawn Group is committed to being recognised as a leading supplier of affordable, high quality fittings for the home and, as a result, places an emphasis on the importance of community schemes such as the Legacy Project,” he continues.
LEPA CEO Robert O’ Connor points out that the Legacy project, established through a partnership between the City of Cape Town, the National Department of Human Settlements, the Provincial Department of Human Settlements and the National Association of Home Builders, serves as the ideal platform to showcase innovative building alternatives to industry standard brick and cement products.
“LEPA was able to fully construct the show homes in only 23 days, as opposed to the traditional brick laying process, which takes, on average, nine weeks to complete a project of a similar size. In addition to significant time savings, low energy panels also provide a 40 per cent saving on labour costs since they are quick and easy to install,” he explains. “What’s more, low energy panels cost roughly R4 000 per m2, compared to R7 500 per m2 for bricks and do, as a result, provide homeowners with the opportunity to save a substantial amount of money, without compromising quality or safety when building the home of their dreams.”
O’ Connor highlights the fact that LEPA panels are produced using a patented manufacturing process. “The composition of LEPA panels consist of a 60 per cent special cement composition, a 30 per cent EPS (expanded polystyrene) mixture and a 10 per cent KFC mixture, which is made up of a number of unique stabilisers and fast setting glues, to name a few of the components. “This results in an energy efficient product which has excellent insulation properties, retaining 96 per cent of all energy released, in addition to providing improved shock absorption capabilities, as well as being fire retardant and water resilient.”
O’ Connor stresses that LEPA does not target low cost or RDP housing projects, but rather serves as an affordable construction solution, incorporating lower-middle to upper income housing and light, commercial projects. “Bricks have become recognised and accepted as the industry standard construction product in the South African housing market for decades and it remains a challenge to change the mindset of an industry that is set in its ways. The Legacy Project serves as an ideal platform to educate the market on viable and sustainable alternatives,” he continues.
Looking to the future, O’ Connor notes that the Department of Minerals and Energy will be enforcing the SANS 204 standard as a mandatory prerequisite for all new buildings in South Africa, as part of its ‘Clean Energy Efficiency Strategy’. “In lieu of the looming global energy crisis, the SANS 204 standard is aimed at promoting the use of alternative energy and the reduction of conventional energy consumption in all buildings, including residential developments. LEPA is fully compliant with SANS 204, placing it well ahead of the competition.”
Haynes believes that sustainable development will play a major part in the future of Dawn and has, in conjunction with the LEPA Project, facilitated a conduit through which its merchants can continue to contribute Dawn products in order to further the success of this and similar projects going forward.
“LEPA has established a technically superior construction methodology that saves time and money in an economy where budgets are becoming increasingly important. With stringent environmental legislation being implemented, The Dawn Group remains committed to making a measurable contribution to sustainable development to the South African construction industry,” he adds. “As part of this commitment, Dawn provides plumbing training and education to various communities across South Africa, in order to ensure that those skills learned will be cascaded to others and ultimately benefit additional communities and community members in the years to come.”
Construction work on the Legacy project was completed by LEPA and the Dawn Group in September 2011, after the Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, officially opened the exhibition on Mandela Day, July 18 2011. A total of eight homes, constructed on site by four different building companies, were transferred to their owners during an official handover ceremony held in September 2011. For more information on lightweight energy panels, visit www.lepa.co.za.