Cooperative Republic of Guyana

Reducing building cost, could be key to making housing units more affordable-CH&PA CEO

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Lelon Saul

DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is examining ways to reduce the cost of its housing units, whilst maintaining an acceptable level of quality. This follows concerns raised by members of the public about the prices of the units that were on display at the recent Housing Solutions 2017 and Beyond Exposition.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CH&PA, Lelon Saul however, told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that these prices were reasonable given the level of investment that was pumped into the construction of the units.  He said in the future, focus will be on employing construction techniques that would have an impact on the cost of the houses.

“Because we would have used the best of the local woods, it influenced the actual cost for the buildings, so what we intend to do in the future, maybe the internal works in the building in the floor perhaps, we might use some other form of hardwood instead of greenheart and for the external work, the cladding, we would use greenheart and perhaps we could reduce some of the size of the members to bring down the cost a little without compromising   the integrity of the buildings,” the CEO said.

He explained that the actual cost of the units is twice the cost for what they are being sold.

“Even the unit that was priced, we spent a total of $16.M to construct that duplex, but yet we are selling it for $6.5M because we do take the citizens into consideration, and I would want to believe that as we move forward, when we look at the subsidies that would be given in terms of a proportion, I think that the same would be done for the other buildings, but I want to caution, that this may not be sustainable, and therefore, we would have to find some means of bringing down the cost,” Saul said.

As it relates to the cost of the homes that was put forward by the private developers and contractors, at the expo, he explained, that “some of them would not have stick to the guidelines that we would have given and so, as a result they did not build houses for low income families. Some of the houses are for middle income family.”

When the CH&PA first spoke with private contractors and developers, it was communicated that the houses to be constructed targeted low to middle income earners, state employees and youth. The contractors and developers were also advised that the structures they erected must be of good quality and that the final price asked for the building must make the house accessible to the targeted persons.

Despite this minor failing, Saul said that CH&PA was happy with the turnout of the event. “We are very much satisfied with the response that we have received from the public.”

The CH&PA had on display and for sale, two single unit and six duplexes at the Housing Solution 2017 and Beyond Exposition. The CEO said that “from all indications the majority of persons interviewed have shown a preference for the single unit elevated.”

He said also that approximately 35 percent of the persons interviewed would have shown a preference for the duplexes.

A direct result of the expo has shown a renewed interest in the CH&PA’s housing solutions and has seen scores of persons flocking the CH&PA on Brickdam to sign up to become owners of these homes.

In a short while the government would be moving to construct more single units and duplexes in the regions. The data collected from the expo is expected to guide this effort. It will also impact future housing solutions that are offered to the public by the government.


By: Macalia Santos | GINA

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