Towards the achievement of affordable housing in Ghana; the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS)

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The aim of this study was to investigate the prospects of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) in the provision of affordable housing in Ghana. Data were gathered from a total of 44 architects and quantity surveyors through a questionnaire survey. The data was analysed with descriptive statistics using frequencies and percentages and a Relative Agreement Index (RAI) model. Analysis of the data revealed significant economic impacts of using EPS. The highly rated impacts were that "EPS enhances speed of construction", "EPS reduces construction period", "EPS provides durability of project" and "EPS enhances waste reduction", with respective RAI values of 0.909, 0.905, 0.859 and 0.850. The relatively high RAI values implied a positive economic impact of the use of EPS as being a cost effective technology. Building cost estimations revealed a significant difference in cost of a building using block work and the one using EPS panels resulting from the relatively high cost of the block work component and the concrete component. The total estimated cost of the structural system was 37.6% higher than that of the EPS building. The results further showed knowledge of EPS among the general public was low as indicated by about 66% of the respondents. Surprisingly, about 45% and 43% of the respondents further indicated that design professionals’ knowledge of EPS was average and low respectively. This had translated into a low adoption rate of EPS for housing within the Ghanaian construction industry. The study concludes that the prospects of EPS in providing affordable housing lies in its marked economic benefits given the widespread need of housing requirement in the country. However, limited knowledge of EPS and its widespread unavailability are notable challenges to its adoption and as such the study recommends that professional and public education of EPS should be enhanced to increase the knowledge, awareness and confidence in EPS for providing affordable housing in Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Construction Technology and Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
Achievement, Affordable, Housing, Ghana