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JIS News

Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, has given his stamp of approval to a new housing model, which will see pre-cast concrete studio units with wind-cooled slab roofs, coming on the market at under $2 million.
“This is a good unit, which could be used for young professionals and persons in the hotel industry,” he told JIS News, after inspecting a demonstration unit constructed by Canadian Jamaican Keith McKenzie, at 11 Oxford Road in New Kingston.
Mr. McKenzie is a returned resident, who brought the unit to Jamaica, having heard of the housing needs in the country and wished to test the market. He operates Global Precast Construction Limited, in collaboration with several Canadian partners.
Minister Chang has been inspecting sites all over Jamaica in an effort to find new locations to house the burgeoning populations around centres of high economic activities and to shelter squatters and other persons, who need to be relocated. These include citizens who live in flood-prone areas and others who make their habitation in or near river courses.
The model unit is presently located on the property in front of the Dorchester Apartments on Oxford Road. It has drawn much attention from persons who use the busy thoroughfare and is prompting questions as to its purpose and origin.
“It was constructed in three hours using a crane and four workmen. This can be done and the unit dressed and made habitable in four hours, once the foundation is in place,” Mr. McKenzie told JIS News.
He said that Global Precast Construction can make up to eight of the studio units in a day and can supply as many as are demanded by the local market. He also demonstrated how the unit can be converted to a two, three or four bedroom house quickly and easily.
The system, Mr. McKenzie said, can be used to construct townhouses, since the 8-inch walls, which meet or exceed Jamaican building standards, are stress-bearing. The demonstration unit has a slab roof with provision for the circulation of air, which makes it cooler than other houses of this kind.
Built to Canadian standards, the house has relatively small windows and doors. This is not a problem, Mr. McKenzie said, while indicating the provisions made in the structure for widening of these openings and for making additions as the financial situation of the owner improves.