Understanding the factors that influence the adoption of stabilised earth by construction professionals to address the Zimbabwe urban low cost housing crisis

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Zami, M

The Zimbabwean construction industry is currently facing an enormous challenge to \ud provide affordable housing to the urban dwelling low income earners. The urban \ud population of Zimbabwe rose rapidly from 27% in 1992 to 42% by early 2002, and the \ud urban housing backlog had risen to over 1,000,000 units by 2005. The use and cost of \ud established construction materials, such as, cement, steel and brick are beyond the \ud reach of most Zimbabweans. Thus, there is a pertinent need for a more affordable \ud alternative. This study investigated the use of contemporary stabilised earth \ud construction as an alternative solution to address the urban low cost housing crisis in \ud Zimbabwe. Although experimental stabilised earth construction projects were a great \ud success in Zimbabwe, this technology has not yet been widely adopted. Factors, such \ud as benefits, drawbacks, inhibitors and drivers thus play an influencing role in the \ud adoption of contemporary stabilised earth construction technologies. These factors \ud must be understood as there are limited appropriate alternatives in Zimbabwe.\ud A critical appraisal of the literature revealed that there is sparse structured research to \ud date carried out to identify the factors that affect the widespread use of contemporary \ud stabilised earth construction. Furthermore, the factors identified in the literature review \ud lack empirical evidence and well structured research is essential to substantiate \ud whether the factors are real or mere speculation.\ud Earth construction is still largely representative of ancient architecture and \ud unfortunately is still related to poor and primitive construction. Contemporary \ud stabilised earth construction is still a relatively new technology in Zimbabwe; \ud therefore, construction professionals will play a pivotal and significant role in the \ud widespread adoption of this technology. Therefore, this study developed a holistic \ud understanding of the factors influencing the adoption of stabilised earth by \ud construction professionals in order to address the low cost housing crisis in Zimbabwe.\ud The aim of this study resided in the interpretivism philosophy; the factors found in the \ud literature review are directly and indirectly related to complex social phenomena. A critical review and appraisal of the literature, combined with findings of the Delphi \ud technique produced a list of generic factors which formed an initial conceptual \ud framework. A series of in-depth interviews were subsequently conducted with \ud construction professionals to validate the generic list of factors and refined the \ud conceptual framework in the context of Zimbabwe.
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