A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology.

Modern building methods using modern building materials:

moladi Construction System aims to address the challenge by providing a scalable, low-tech, and low-skilled affordable building solution using in-situ casting. Founded in 1986 by South African social entrepreneur Hennie Botes, the company aims to replace the classic brick-and-mortar construction with an easier method: using a patented lightweight, removable, and re-usable plastic injection moulded formwork system that is filled with fast setting aerated mortar to cast entire houses on-site.

Photo by moladi

Photo by moladi

The process is deliberately designed to be labour intensive to boost local employment and local production without requiring prior construction experience or skills. The moladi construction process mostly uses local supplies apart from the reusable formwork and a special additive to aerate the mortar (concrete without stone) to reduce the density, thereby enhancing the thermal properties of the structure. The other function of the additive is to waterproof the wall and enhance the flow ability of the mortar within the formwork eliminating the need to vibrate.

Through creative engineering and sophisticated manufacturing, moladi aims to advance living standards and spaces affordably. moladi is an advanced building technology that utilises an innovative re-usable plastic formwork system to reduce the required skills to produce quality affordable homes and other structures that are socially acceptable by speeding up delivery and thus reducing cost. By emulating the methodology of the automotive assembly line, moladi implements the principles applied by Henry Ford; reducing cost by increasing production output by de-skilling the production operation, making homes affordable.

The advantage that moladi brings to the ‘production process’ is that the process can measured and maintained, ensuring consistent speed and quality within budget.

Conventional brick and mortar construction:

  • How many bricks or blocks are laid per day?
  • Are the quantity of bricks or blocks laid per day the same for every day of the week?
  • What happens when the bricklayer does not come to work?
  • Is the dagha (mortar) mix to lay the bricks or blocks consistent?
  • How many bricks or blocks are wasted or broken or stolen?
  • Are walls straight plumb and square?
  • How long to chase for electricity piping?
  • How long to chase for water piping?
  • How long does it take to do beam filling?
  • How long does it take to plaster window reveals?
  • Is plaster thickness consistent or does it vary?
  • Is the plaster mix consistent?
  • Any rework?
  • Rubble to clear?

This leads to the question: Are the inefficiencies of the brick and mortar construction process making homes unaffordable for most?

It all comes down to efficiency of producing a cost-effective, socially acceptable wall for people (knock test), then fixing all the other components, like door, windows, roof, ceiling, bathroom fixtures etc., onto the ‘chassis’ (the wall). So, in reality, who can produce a wall on a stand the quickest, and millions of them? We simply use a cost per square meter of a wall (chassis) on a foundation (in position), ready for ‘assembly’ as a yardstick of efficiency. This method compares ‘apples with apples’?