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Fire-retardant homes under development

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Shack fires are commonplace in South Africa, and are one of the major problems facing informal settlements, often leading to death and leaving people homeless.

This has motivated Dave Lindup, chief executive of Magnastruct, to keep improving the designs available at his Cape Town-based company, which produces green recyclable buildings made of magnesium oxide boards. They are fire-retardant, impervious to water, and are mould and mildew-resistant.

The building material is ideal for informal homes, and is superior to traditional wood, gypsum and cement-based products. It has a zero flame spread and smoke development rating. Lindup’s company is now developing an informal affordable dwelling that can be made out of MagnaBoards and assembled by the residents.

Currently in the planning stage, the 2.7m by 2.7m dwelling will be called The Square and will be sold in a flat-pack kit form, including roof, walls, window, door, floor and bolts and screws with instructions for self-assembly. Lindup says the company is talking to a finance house for small loans for customers, and plans to launch later this year.

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