Prefab RDP Housing and Community Centres

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Housing of satisfactory quality is seen globally as a primary human need. In 1991, in its General Comment No. 4, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights defined "affordable housing" as housing with legal security of tenure, that has the availability of service, that is affordable and habitable, that is accessible, in the right location and that is culturally adequate (Leckie and Thiele et al., 2002).

This is a major problem for South Africa. According to statistics South Africa (2009) only 56% of South Africans live in fully-owned formal dwellings in 2009 (Le Roux, 2011). Low cost housing is of utmost importance but seem to have its own problems such as the funding from the government and the time they take to construct. The current backlog is estimated to be somewhere between 2.1 to 2.5 million units.


As so many South Africans are in need of housing, the study is done to research some of the gaps and problems surrounding the housing crises in South Africa such as the high costs and time consumption, and to hopefully design a housing solution that is less expensive and faster to build as well as community centres to help these people food and other basic needs.


The aim of this study is finding a possible solution to the housing crises in South Africa as well as finding ways to help the people in this crisis have a better lifestyle with better basic needs. The idea is that this possible solution will be determined by doing research on the background and history of the housing crises, analysing this data and then by researching ways to address these problems.


Housing problems in South Africa

According to the Department of housing, housing is one of the biggest problems of South Africa. The government, since coming into power in 1994 have built 1.4million houses and thus gave homes to 5 million people. There is still a massive backlog and the costs are immense (, 2014).

These are some of the issues discussed in the article Houses For Everyone on the website South The knowledge gained from this website will help to fully grasp the problem that South Africa is facing. This website will be used for the research on the background, history and the reasons for the housing problem in South Africa.

Beginning with reference to bodies of evidence that suggest the existence of a serious housing problem in South Africa, this paper goes on to examine some of the salient features of that problem” (Napier, 1993).

The research document Housing problem in South Africa: ideological perspectives will tie in with the website mentioned previously, to better understand the problems that lie within the housing problems of South Africa .By knowing why South Africa have these housing problems and by knowing what the main factors that contribute to these problems are, it is easier to find solutions.

For some extra information about the housing problems in South Africa and to view the problems from a different perspective the two sources above will also be accompanied by The provision of low-cost housing in South Africa: a wicked problem with a systems theory solution by F.E Le Roux (Le Roux, 2011).

Low cost housing solutions

Low cost housing in itself also has positive and negative aspects to it. It is important to research these factors so that the negative points can be replaced with positive ones thus the book; Housing Needs and Policy Alternatives in Developing Countries will be used as a source to find out what these factors might be (Struyk, 1988).

One of the most important factors of low cost housing is the fact that it has to be cheap. To find out what the costs are surrounding low cost housing the SABC’s news website will be used as they provide these costs in one of the housing schemes launched by the South African government (Moya, 2014).

Along with knowing the positive and negative aspects and the price of low cost housing it is also necessary to know how low cost housing is made and what materials are used. For this, Moladi is a South African business that specialises in low cost housing and the building of such housing (, 2014).

Prefabricated housing

To understand the concept of prefabricated houses, what it is all about, how it is done, how much it costs and what the positive and negative factors are, is an important part of the research. Insider’s Guide to Modular Homes (Key, 2008), has sufficient amount of information one might need about prefabricated housing and is the source that will be consulted on this part of the research.

Sustainable solutions in the building environment

For sustainability and sustainable design, including the systems that are used in such designs, two sources will be used. The website of the city of Cape Town has produced a guide for smarter and more sustainable building. They claim that by using this guide one can reduce one’s energy by 70%. These guides will be looked at to see if the housing can be made more sustainable (, 2014).

The second source that will be used is a document by the United Nation that explain, more in depth, structures, systems and materials that needs to be used for sustainable housing (Golubchikov and Badyina, 2012).

Sustainable solutions in the building environment

As an international case study for community centres, what they are used for, how they can improve the life of the community and how they could be designed as well as data captured from this specific community in Malad, Idaho, United States of America, the online journal, “DESIGNING A COMPLETE COMMUNITY CENTER:

RESPONSIVE DESIGN IN A RURAL SETTING” will be used (Tubbs, 2012).

As for research in South Africa, the website and information of the organisation called NORSA will be used (, 2014).

This will be used in conjunction with online questionnaires.


An analysis of the South African housing crises shows that there is a need for a cheaper housing solution that can be produced at a faster rate and maintain a better lifestyle.


The scope of the research will be limited to cheapening the costs of low cost housing, how to speed up the production of such houses by prefabricating the houses or some parts of the houses and to use systems to make the houses more sustainable and therefore bring down the monthly costs. Along with this, communal areas and community centres will also be researched as to help with other basic needs such as food.

Case studies of both national and international housing solutions will be researched as to design the best solution. This is important due to the fact that each country has problems unique to itself but can also be adapted to be used in different countries.

The housing will be researched as a basic form that is suitable for most and will not include special features for special needs. As the houses will be designed for a basic human need, no consideration will be given to different cultural backgrounds and will only address the basic needs of any human being.


Research will be done using data captured by the national South African census and reliable sources in the different sub fields such as prefabricated housing, sustainable housing and low income housing.

This data will be processed and analysed to find the best possible solution for the housing crises of South Africa. The data will be divided into their own chapters according to their sub categories and then concluded as the final design or product.


Task name

Finalised by

Research on the housing crises

30 April

Research on low cost housing

14 May

Research on prefabricated housing

28 May

Research on sustainability

4 June

Research community centres and communal ares

11 June


18 June

Finalising first draft

28 June

Finalising final draft

28 August

Hand in



  • Chapter 1 - chapter one will be research on the housing crises in South Africa and the solutions that are currently being used.
  • Chapter 2 - research on low cost housing



  • Chapter 3 - research on prefabricated houses
  • Chapter 4 - research on sustainable design
  • Chapter 5 – research on community centres and communal areas

Short term advantages

Long term advantages

  • Conclusion - a final design taking all the other chapters into consideration and coming up with a conclusion.


The expected outcomes is that there will be some flaws in the low cost housing systems in place in South Africa and by doing the research and identifying these flaws, they can be fixed. By combining all these systems and housing solutions that are researched, a better home can be given to more people in less time and for less money. This home that will be designed will also bring with it a better and healthier lifestyle and fulfil more basic human needs.

Along with these homes, community areas will be designed to also help satisfy basic human needs.





LIST OF SOURCES CONSULTED 2014. Green building guidelines. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 March 2014].

Golubchikov, O. and Badyina, A. 2012. SUSTAINABLE HOUSING fOr SUSTAINABLE CITIES A POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. [e-book] Nairobi: UNON. Available through: UN-Habitat [Accessed: 30 March 2014].

Key, T. 2008. Insider’s Guide to Modular Homes. [e-book] Tim Key. Available through: ModularToday [Accessed: 30 March 2014].

Le Roux, F. E. 2011. The provision of low-cost housing in South Africa: a wicked problem with a systems theory solution.

Leckie, S., Thiele, B., Ergüden, S., Jensen, I. and Hakezimana, A. 2002. Housing rights legislation. [e-book] Nairobi: UN-HABITAT. Available through: UN-HABITAT [Accessed: 30 March 2014] 2014. RDP Housing South Africa | RDP housing projects | Subsidy Low Cost houses. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 March 2014].

Moya, Z. 2014. SABC - Minister Sexwale launches affordable housing scheme:Thursday 9 May 2013. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 March 2014].

Napier, M. 1993. Housing Problems in South Africa:ideological perspectives. [e-book] Available through: forum Problem in South Africa.pdf [Accessed: 30 March 2014]., (2014). NORSA Community Care | NGO In South-Africa, Wellington. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Jun. 2014]. 2014. Houses for everyone. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 March 2014]

Struyk, RJ. 1988. Housing Needs and Policy Alternatives in Developing Countries. Washington: University Press of America.

Tubbs, S. (2012). DESIGNING A COMPLETE COMMUNITY CENTER: RESPONSIVE DESIGN IN A RURAL SETTING. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Jun. 2014].