Flat-pack kit home the answer to informal settlement fires

Flat-pack kit home the answer to informal settlement fires

The Square, a 2.7mx 2.7mhome made of MagnaBoard, which has a zero flame spread and smoke development rating, making it ideal for homes in informal settlements.

Dave Lindup, chief executive of Magnastruct, has been through a frustrating time, but he is ready to launch a product that will provide a solution for countless residents in informal settlements frequently ravaged by fire.

His company produces the green building product, MagnaBoard, which is made from magnesium oxide. The breakthrough advantages of these boards are that they are 100 percent fire retardant, water impervious, mould and mildew resistant and the ideal building material for informal homes.

Lindup has often witnessed the devastation, pain and loss from countless fires in informal settlements. Despite repeated attempts to convince local authorities to substitute fire retardant building materials, they frustratingly once again rehabilitate using the traditional zinc sheets and wood.

This ongoing scenario prompted Lindup to research an affordable informal dwelling that can be made out of MagnaBoards and assembled by the occupants.

Currently in the planning stage the dwelling will be called The Square. The 2.7mx 2.7mstructure will be sold in kit form, which will include the roof, walls, floor, a window, a door and bolts and screws with instructions for assembly. The flat pack kit will retail for under R7 500, compared to a Wendy house which retails for around R18 000 – and doesn’t have the fire retardant benefits.

“We are really excited as the dwelling will be able to be safe and secure when the owners are at work and although it is small, rooms can easily be added on as funds become available. A further advantage is MagnaBoard is great to paint on, so the owners can decorate the exterior,” says Lindup.

“We are talking to a finance house for small loans for our customers and plan to launch later this year. We want to make it easy for anyone to assemble a safe warm starter home.”

Lindup says magnesium oxide is superior in every category compared to traditional wood, gypsum and cement based products.

“MagnaBoard has a zero flame spread and smoke development rating, a huge advantage considering that informal houses are generally built very close to each other, so fires can easily spread very rapidly from one to another,” says Lindup.

“In a recent fire test held at an informal housing settlement in Pniel near Stellenbosch one of the homes was made out of MagnaBoard whereas the other shacks were built with conventional materials. When the fires were started the shacks made of conventional materials burnt, buckled and collapsed, whereas the fire in the informal house made of MagnaBoard could be contained and extinguished.”

Call Dave Lindup on 021 531 2145 or 082 491 1183.