Affordable housing options and technologies

The important dream and desire of everyone, is to have their own customized home befitting their individual needs. A recently released housing survey by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics points at an improvement in housing, but states that there is still a gap to be filled if the majority of the poor are to fully realize this right. The survey indicates that Uganda has a housing deficit of 550,000 units. About 160,000 of this backlog is in urban areas. Kampala alone has a housing deficit of 100,000 units. Uganda’s population, which is growing at a rate of 3.3% per year, is projected to increase to 45 million by 2020. With a rapid rate of urbanization, it is estimated that two decades from now, Uganda will have a housing shortage of close to 8 million units, of which 2.5 million will be in urban centers and one million in Kampala. Extract from

The dream of owning a house particularly for low-income and middle-income families is becoming a difficult reality. Hence, it has become a necessity to adopt cost effective, innovative and environment-friendly housing technologies for the construction of houses and buildings for enabling the common people to construct houses at affordable cost. This paper compares construction cost for the traditional and low cost housing technologies. Construction methods of foundation, walling, roofing and lintel are compared. Strength and durability of the structure, stability, safety and mental satisfaction are factors that assume top priority during cost reduction. It is found that about 26.11% and 22.68% of the construction cost can be saved by using low cost housing technologies in comparison with the traditional construction methods in the case studies for walling and roofing respectively. This proves that using low cost housing technologies is a cost effective construction approach for the industry.


In order to understand ‘Uganda’s traditional construction methods’ please read

Understanding adequate housing

The right to housing, as defined by international law, is basic human need which allows us to subsist. Good housing contributes to the wellbeing of families and to a country’s broader economic and social development. According to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, general comment 4, the right to adequate housing [1991] the minimum requirements of adequate housing are;

  • Legal secure tenure; in their housing, people must be protected from eviction, harassment and other threats. States must enforce tenure security, in consultation of the affected groups.
  • Availability of services and infrastructure; housing should include facilities essential for health, security, comfort and nutrition, safe drinking water, energy for cooking, heating , lighting, sanitation facilities, refuse disposal , storage and emergency services.
  • Affordability; the cost of adequate housing should not be so high that it compromises the ability of the house hold to access other basic needs.
  • Habitability; housing must protect its inhabitants from cold, damp, heat, rain or other health threats and structural hazards. It must provide adequate space for them.
  • Accessibility; all people are entitled to adequate housing and disadvantaged groups in particular must be accorded full and sustainable access to housing which may mean granting then priority status in housing allocation or land use planning.
  • Location; housing should be located in areas with access to employment options health, school, child care facilities. This service applies equally in rural and urban areas. Housing should not be built on or near polluted sites or sources of pollution.
  • Cultural adequacy; activities geared towards development or modernization of housing should ensure that the cultural dimensions of housing are not sacrificed, while simultaneously ensuring technical facilities.

Approaches to low cost housing

Here at Grey Oak we believe that there is a need for the adoption of strong, durable, environment friendly, ecologically appropriate, energy efficient and yet cost effective materials and appropriate technologies in construction. Essential requirement to human existence is a HOME next only to food and clothing. A breakthrough for application of sustainable and cost effective technologies for better housing in rural and urban areas is an urgent need considering spiraling construction costs.

Different types of project have different levels of complexity and detail.

Design – Row housing or town houses area require lesser materials and utilize more space on your plot.

Size-The smaller the project in terms of scope or the number of square feet, the more it will cost per square foot.

Building Cost- The building construction cost can be divided into two parts namely: Building material cost: 65 to 70 % Labor cost: 65 to 70 %

Do read the following links for more information and approaches to affordable housing.

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