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All Africa Housing Innovation Competition - Soshanguve

The Winner - the 80 m2 FinnBUILDER Showhouse
All Africa Housing Innovation Competition - Soshanguve
Organised under the auspices of the NHBRC and ABSA Bank

In 2006, the South African Minister of Housing, the honorable Dr. Lindiwe Sisulu invited all creditable housing innovation systems to take part in a Innovative Housing Competition to find the best alternative building system in Africa and Internationally. The Minister wanted to identify the quickest, strongest, most cost effective system that consumers liked the most. The Competition was organised by the National Home Builders Regulation Council (NHBRC) and ABSA Bank.

The rules of the Competition were simple. Build an affordable house for not more than R 140 000 (US $ 20,000). If the engineers deemed the structure to be unsafe, or if the community considered the house to be an insult to human dignity, then the competitor would have to demolish the house and remove his own building rubble!

Eighty eight entrants expressed an interest in competing, but after initial desk research on the structural efficacy of the designs, the NHBRC invited just twenty seven innovative systems to take part. In the event, 21 entrants ended up taking part in the competition. Among them were systems from the USA, Germany, Australia and China.

Having been accepted as an entrant, our attention then turned to designing the biggest affordable house that we could build within the competition budget. We settled for an 80 m2 three bedroom home with one bathroom and a separate toilet, an open plan kitchen and living area leading to an outdoor entertainment patio. Ceilings fitted throughout. A feature of the house is the stained concrete floor which is coloured to look like ceramic tiles.

All the building materials; 13 mm concrete stone, river sand and building sand were sourced locally from a quarry just 9 klms away. Local cement, Pretoria Portland Cement Cem 2 was used. All concrete was mixed on site using a Turner Morris TM400 drum mixer. Three experienced FinnBUILDER operators were used, but the remaining nine people on site were all local people who were trained in their duties. Local sub - contractors were used. In all, some R 41 217 was paid in wages and sub - contracts to local people. On a contract to build 5,000 similar houses in your area, this translates to earnings for local people of some R 200 million (US $ 29m). The structure was built from raft foundation to roof height in three days using 4 FinnBUILDER Gemini machines and one FinnBUILDER Pillar machine.

The house took three weeks to complete from start to finish. The end of the competition coincided with the Minister delivering her budget speech in Parliament and all entrants were invited to attend the prize giving which was held at an awards dinner in Cape Town. FinnBUILDER was announced the outright winner for cost efficiency, structural integrity and market acceptance. A light weight steel framed system called Vela came second and Styrox, a polystyrene interlocking block system came third.

Some three months later we received unqualified accreditation from the NHBRC which means that the FinnBUILDER system is accepted by all Municipalities in South Africa. In addition, all four major Banks are now granting building loans for homes and structures built with the system. Other African countries are evidently comfortable with the level of accreditation that the FinnBUILDER system holds in South Africa and are approving building projects throughout the continent.

Clearing the site

Building an earth mattress

Throwing the raft foundation

Building starts 11 March

End of day one

Building on day two

Roof height on day three
using 4 FinnBUILDER Gemini machines

Painting and finishing


South Africa
Pretoria, Soshanguve 25 35'43.48"S
28 06'22.13"E
Architect: John Becarro
Engineer: Dries van der Merwe
Contractor: FinnBUILDER
Client: NHBRC



Welcome to FinnBUILDER ...
the smart way to build

This is the easiest system of house construction, commercial property construction or industrial property construction. In fact it's the easiest way to build just about anything. It's half the cost of building with brick, double the strength and twice as fast. FinnBUILDER is an innovative alternative building system which is fully accredited and backed by major Banking institutions.



As winner of the All Africa Innovative Housing competition run by the South African Government, the NHBRC and ABSA Bank, FinnBUILDER can claim to be Africa's best building innovation. It is an alternative building system. The system makes use of easy to operate concrete slip forms and 15 MPa reinforced no-slump concrete. This ensures that structures are strong and yet all of this is achieved at surprisingly low cost.



FinnBUILDER is uniquely positioned to assist developers to contain building costs and maintain quality standards. Substantial cost savings are achievable. On a 200 m2 house and boundary walls, a developer will save about R 80 000. On a 300 m2 house, savings of about R 130 000 are being realized.