Energy efficiency provides the edge amid escalating costs

The Afripanel modular building system is designed to reduce construction time on site

CONSTRUCTION EFFICIENCY The Afripanel modular building system is designed to reduce construction time on site

25th March 2016

By: Malusi Mkhize



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Modular homes and prefabricated buildings supplier Afripanel highlights the significant advantage of using energy efficient prefabricated buildings for mine-site accommodation solutions amid rising electricity and fossil fuel costs.

Afripanel MD Jaco Schultz tells Mining Weekly that the company uses insulated fluted and flat panels and a tongue-and-groove joining system for wall construction.

“The panels are energy efficient, as, firstly, they are manufactured on a large scale and, secondly, they provide effective insulation. A 75-mm- to 100-mm-thick panel that consists of aluminium-zinc, laminated on both sides of an expanded polystyrene sheet, while the male edge has a chromadek steel edge for strength,” he explains, adding that using this material results in Afripanel’s buildings being 50% more energy efficient than traditional buildings.

The panels are also fire retardant, having been coated with a zinc-aluminium layer; they include polystyrene, which acts as an insulator.

To achieve efficient construction, our system is designed so that each panel has a part number. The windows and doors are fitted onto the panels in the factory before being sent to the construction site,” says Schultz.

Afripanel was involved in a community upliftment project for iron-ore supplier Kumba Iron Ore, owned by multinational mining company Anglo American, at its Sishen mine, near the town of Kathu, in the Northern Cape.

Afripanel constructed one-, two- and three- bedroom houses that ranged from 43.1 m2 to 79 m2 in size. The project also included the construction of park homes, which are ideal when there is no time to construct structures on site. The homes can be joined together to create a larger building, as well as ablution facilities.

Schultz adds that the first phase of the project was completed in 2014 and that the second phase of the project, encompassing the construction of more houses, was scheduled to start in 2015. However, this phase has been delayed, owing to low iron-ore prices.

Afripanel also completed another two-phase project at the Tsumeb mineral mine, operated by mining and metals company Ongopolo, in Namibia. Work included construction of a 300man camp and operational buildings, such as offices for the minerals mine. The project started in January 2014 and Afripanel was able to complete the project in April of the same year.

The company was formed in 1998; however, the Afripanel system was developed in 2009 and has been successfully used to address the need for low-cost housing in the mining sector.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor



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