Affordable housing

By 2030, an estimated 3 billion people will lack access to adequate housing. To address this need, Holcim is focusing on innovation to offer a range of affordable housing solutions to populations and governments, including microfinance, earth-cement building solutions and collective social housing.

For Holcim, affordable housing means helping populations with low revenue access housing at the most affordable cost. Affordable housing is a business activity with a high social impact. We offer a wide range of innovative solutions for the construction, renovation and extension of affordable houses, tailored to the local challenges and needs of individuals, NGOs, and public organizations responsible for housing. They cover four types of offers that are implemented in 25 countries worldwide to facilitate access to decent housing.


Microfinance and construction technical assistance for self-builders

To support individuals with low revenue to finance the construction, renovation, and extension of their homes, we offer microfinance programs for affordable housing: 

  • Access to microcredits via partnerships with institutions such as the French Development Agency or International Finance Corporation (part of the World Bank)
  • Technical assistance of Holcim advisors, with worksite visits, plans, budgets, catalogs, free training and mobile apps
  • Access to our network of partner retailers, through which customers have access to high quality materials and innovative building solutions
  • Construction solutions including modular housing templates, concrete blocks and roofing solutions

This solution is available in Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Ecuador, Brazil and Serbia.


Earth-cement building solutions

We offer a sustainable alternative to burnt clay bricks: DURABRIC, a cement binder mixed with earth that makes clay bricks more weather-resistant than traditional ones.  It is environmentally friendly because it does not require firing, which is the source of significant deforestation in many developing countries. DURABRIC also contributes to insulation by preserving thermal inertia.


Distribution solutions for rural areas

In rural and semi-rural areas of India, we have set up “Green Building Centers” through partner entrepreneurs who produce and sell a complete building solution that includes low-carbon fly ash bricks and other cement-based materials. Holcim supplies retarded concrete and mortar in bags and small packages that can be transported by rickshaws.


Solutions for collective social housing

Governments and developers are looking for new solutions to build large collective housing schemes faster and improve their quality, attractiveness, and sustainability. We offer NGOs and governments a wide range of services, starting with preliminary studies with designers and decision-makers to identify and test optimized construction systems in collaboration with our Research Center. We also offer ready-mix concrete solutions, including the on-site delivery of innovative concrete walls. This solution is primarily available in Nigeria.


14 Trees, our acceleration lever

To scale up our impact on affordable housing across developing countries, Holcim and CDC, the UK’s Development Finance Institution, established a joint-venture company called 14 Trees, which focuses on production and promotion of DURABRIC.

Affordable housing project in Ecuador

Durabric Malawi plant

Individual house in Malawi