34 of 100 low-income houses at Great Diamond to be ready by month end

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By Sharda Bacchus

shardabacchus@newsroom.gy

The Ministry of Housing is currently constructing 100 low-income houses at Great Diamond, East Bank Demerara and 34 of them are expected to be completed by the end of this month.

The construction is part of two separate projects, which Minister of Housing and Water, Colin Croal, said was conceptualised during Building Expo 2022.

Overhead view of the Great Diamond area where the low-income houses are being constructed (Photo: DPI/February 6, 2023)

The projects, which were awarded to Visionary Builders Company and South Atlantic Company, will see the houses being built to the standard size of 600 square feet. Changes can be made at any time to fit the owners’ likings and they can be “easily” adjusted.

Speaking to reporters at the site during an inspection exercise on Monday, Croal said the projects are part of the government’s effort to target home construction rather than just allocation of house lots.

Croal said the first 50 houses, which are being constructed by Visionary Builders, are the “first of its kind” here in Guyana. The cost for one of these houses is $5.5M.

Raj Persaud of Visionary Builders (Photo: News Room/February 6, 2023)

“This project is an overseas investor with collaboration with a local investor…A Surinamese Company. They are constructing 50 low-income houses. The exact size of our model houses which is 600 square feet, two bedrooms, with the bathroom area and kitchen.

“This type of house is different….the type of wall that is being used, they are using the metal sheet and they plastering it with concrete,” Croal explained.

Twenty-six of the houses, he said, are expected to be completed by the end of this month. The remaining 24 is slated for completion in March month end.

The response from the beneficiaries, Croal said, will determine if the project will be expanded.

“That’s the agreement that we have now for 50. We will see the response. Immediately, we will start putting this through our beneficiaries that we have…We will see the response then we will know if we will have a phase two,” he noted.

South Atlantic will be constructing 50 low-income environmentally-friendly houses (Photo: News Room/February 6, 2023)

Raj Persaud of Visionary Builders pointed out that these types of houses are usually built in hinterland locations.

“…It can handle a lot of pressure in terms of hurricane, weather condition and so…It’s a modern finish home. Affordable home,” he said.

The other 50 houses, which are described as “environmentally friendly,” are being built a stone’s throw away by South Atlantic. One of the houses will cost $5.9M.

“…They are environmentally friendly, they are different, it’s going to be cooler,” Croal told reporters.

Apart from its special features which make it “different”, Croal pointed out that the government is excited about this project.

“We are excited about this project because part of government responsibility is to ensure that we are able to respond to the eco-friendly environment and so these types of houses satisfy this criteria,” he explained.

And, South Atlantic’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alphonso De Armas said that the “hardest” phase of the project, which entails building the foundation and curb walls, has been completed.

South Atlantic’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alphonso De Armas (center) with other employees at the project site (Photo: News Room/February 6, 2023)

“I am excited to start to bring the blocks from storage to the site here to start erecting the houses…Next week we hope to have around eight houses, if not finished, then at a decent rate of construction,” Alphonso told reporters.

One of these houses, he said, can be completed in a week.

“It’s like putting together a lego….It goes up pretty quickly…You don’t need skilled workers to do it,” he said.

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