GhIE President outlines sustainable housing technologies


President-Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), Ing. Kwabena Bempong, has outlined alternative sustainable housing building technologies that are cost effective and give true meaning to affordable housing in Ghana.

He said as construction costs rise and urbanisation accelerates, the housing market tends to cater primarily for the affluent – excluding individuals in the low- to medium-income category from accessing suitable housing. He added: “Housing is defined as unaffordable if more than 30% of the monthly or annual income of a household is spent on housing”.

The GhIE President said it is estimated that about 80% of Ghana’s building materials are imported, and are subject to global economic trends such as commodity pricing, high labour costs, geopolitical wars and others.

He recommended the use of affordable building materials such as Bio-based materials like timber, bamboo and improvements to non-renewable building materials such as Green cement, Pulverised Fly Ash, Blast Furnace Slag, Calcined Clay, Burnt Rice Husks and Natural Pozzolans for building houses in Ghana.

He also recommended alternative building technologies: such as Rammed Earth Building, Interlocking Bricks Construction, the Reinforced Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam Building System as well as Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum and Light Gauge Steel Framed Structures (LGFS).

Ing. Kwabena Bempong made these statements when delivering his 52nd presidential address to Ghana Institution of Engineering members on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at the Ghana Shippers Authority, Shippers House, North Ridge-Accra.

Speaking on the theme ‘Sustainable Housing Supply with Alternative Building Technologies’, the GhIE president said government has no business building houses. Instead, government’s role is to provide the necessary policy and right institutional framework; and provide easy access to affordable lands, financing, building materials and basic infrastructure. He added that governments should ensure social housing is pursued to ensure affordability for low-income workers.

Chairman of the ceremony, Mr. Emmanuel Botchwey, Executive Chairman-Regimanuel Group, said Ing. Bempong’s presentation has underscored the transformative power of embracing sustainable practices.

“The incorporation of alternative building technologies not only promises to mitigate environmental impact but also offers a pathway to more resilient, affordable and inclusive housing options. The insights presented on alternative sustainable building technologies and the urgency of addressing the housing deficit underscore the need for collaborative efforts from all sectors”, Mr. Emmanuel Botchwey added.

In his welcome address, GhIE Executive Director Ing. David Kwatia Nyante explained that the GhIE’s presidential address is arguably the most significant event that occurs during the term of the Institution’s president. Each president of the Institution is required to deliver an address concerning a subject within which he or she is an authority. The preceding event for this year’s presidential address – which centres around ‘Sustainable Housing Supply with Alternative Building Technologies’ – was a two-day exhibition of the said technologies that took place on the forecourts of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) from 27th January to 28th January, 2024.

Present at the ceremony were the President of GhIE’s wife, ACP Priscilla Bempong; the Vice-President of GhIE, Ing. Sophia Abena Tijani; President-elect of GhIE, Ing. Ludwig Hesse; immediate past President of GhIE, Ing. Rev. Prof. Charles Anum Adams – who joined the programme online; Ing (Mrs. Carlien Bou-Chedid, immediate past President-Federation of African Engineering Organisation (FAEO); Ing. Leslie Alex Ayeh, immediate past President-West African Federation of Engineering Organisation (WAFEO); Council members of GhIE, past Presidents of GhIE, Women in Engineering (WINE) and representatives of other professional bodies.

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