Developing housing aimed at the low income and socially excluded sectors, in reality, is rarely looked at as a priority for the largest of global constructors – the main reason being a lack of financial viability making projects worthwhile from a profitability perspective. Those that do enter the market often produce inferior quality housing which, whilst serving a purpose, ultimately fails to achieve the desired long term objectives strived for within the industry.
But what if it would be possible to construct housing adhering to the highest of international building standards at a cost which could bring unprecedented benefits into low income housing sector? Along with other innovatory approaches being explored throughout the world, one developer and construction materials supplier with over 25 years of experience of working in the Brazilian real estate market has been presenting a potential solution to the problem: gypsum plaster.
Not to be confused with “drywall,” which has a thin layer of gypsum plaster in between two thickened pieces of paper, constructors, engineers and architectural specialists have long been questioning why the use of gypsum has been largely phased out of common usage, particularly due to the fact that it was popularly used in ancient Egyptian, Syrian and Greek building structures.
In terms of modern day usage in the global construction industry, gypsum plaster blocks possess a number of distinct advantages. The block is scientifically proven to be stronger and more durable than what is used conventionally – including both brick and cement – as well as having a higher level of fire resistance; excellent acoustic protection; long-term proven dimensional stability and adaptability. With respect to the environment, being 100% recyclable on site, the role of gypsum plaster also plays a fundamental role in the industry particularly as building site waste continues to be one of the largest pollutants on the planet today. The material also releases no carbon emissions; requires 70% less energy to be produced when compared to brick; is lighter in weight and can be mounted or stored in any weather conditions.
Perhaps the most interesting fact about gypsum plaster is that it is in abundant supply, and according to the U.S. Global Geological Survey of 2008, has massive reserves not only in Brazil, but in the U.S. and Europe. This effectively means that the raw material value is negligible enabling constructors to viably build excellent quality housing with overall gross development costs totaling at over 40% less than the standard. Developers can pass these cost savings on to the low income house buyer and still achieve a healthy profit.