The Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA) has announced that architectural plans for the 40m² CMA House are now available on CAD, and can be downloaded from the CMA website (www.cma.org.za) at no charge.
Isia Ortner, the architect who designed the CMA House, says placing the plans into CAD software means that they can be easily modified and will therefore have much broader appeal.
“There is no such thing as a totally standard house, even at the subsidised housing level. Each development is different, if only minimally, and CMA House plans can now be easily adapted to suit specific developments.
“For example, CAD allows for easy orientation and makes future extensions much easier. It also facilitates mirror imaging as well as the adjustment of internal layouts,” comments Ortner.
Unlike most subsidy housing plans, which are basic, the CMA House plans are fully detailed, down to the last concrete block. Central to the whole CMA House concept is modular masonry, which requires that each and every block and dimension is accounted for and avoids the time-consuming and wasteful process of chopping blocks to fit – if applied correctly, the process can generate substantial cost and quality benefits.
“Preparing plans for proper modular masonry is time-consuming, but the extra effort is definitely worthwhile. As most subsidy housing developments involve the construction of up to 50, if not hundreds, of houses, the additional costs that detailed/modular masonry plans entail are rendered insignificant through amortisation. Moreover, when the savings that accrue from modular masonry are realised, the preparation of detailed plans becomes even more compelling.
“This poses the question as to why all subsidy housing developments are not built using modular masonry. The sad truth is that most subsidy housing developers are too focused on securing architectural plans at the lowest possible cost, and in doing so, they miss out on the cost-savings and improved quality aspects that detailed plans for modular masonry entail.
“This false economy results in plans which cover the basics only and leave building contractors to proceed as they see fit. Houses which take longer to build, shoddy quality control and a high percentage of wasted materials are often the consequence,” says Ortner.
“If developers appreciated the cost savings, let alone quality benefits of modular masonry, they would most certainly insist on its widespread application,” says CMA director Hamish Laing.
There are two sets of CMA House plans – one for inland projects based on the 290x140x90mm solid concrete block and the other for coastal projects based on the 390x140x190mm hollow concrete block.
“Now that the plans are on CAD, they can be used as a template for almost any subsidy housing project with minor modifications, and because all the detailed leg-work has already been done very little additional work, if any, would be required to adopt the plans for numerous subsidy housing projects. Being available at no charge, the only cost would be that of the modifications, which should be minimal,” concludes Laing.
Concrete Manufacturers Association
Tel: 011 805 6742
Fax: 086 524 9216