Groupe Filatex invests to revolutionise Madagascar Construction Industry

Research facility to create 100% Malagasy-sourced materials to lower construction costs, make homeownership affordable and protect the environment.

9th July 2022

Malagasy renewable energy, industrial free zone, and real estate company, Groupe Filatex, is taking on the traditional construction sector with new technologies.

The company is investing in "Briques de Terre Compressées Stabilisés" (BTCS) or Stabilized Compressed Earth Bricks. This production technique offers, for the first time, a sustainable and affordable alternative to conventional cement bricks, lowering costs from €400 per square metre to €200. 

Groupe Filatex aims to transform the Malagasy housing system, presenting opportunities for entire communities. Regular Madagascans will afford to build their own homes. 

The BTCS bricks are nicknamed ‘Lego’ after the popular toy because of the shape and construction technique. The bricks will be produced with local raw materials and BTCS recognises Madagascar’s environment and traditional brick construction practice. 

Different format of bricks produced by Groupe Filatex
Different formats of bricks produced by Groupe Filatex

Homelessness in Madagascar is complex, with several economic and internal causes with short- and long-term effects. The country has abundant resources and wildlife but remains one of the world’s poorest. Its geographical location makes it particularly susceptible to natural disasters such as cyclones that destroy homes and food supplies and are detrimental to health and overall quality of life. 

Groupe Filatex seeks to disrupt the conventional construction industry and improve the lives of the Malagasy people.

Hasnaine Yavarhoussen, CEO of Groupe Filatex, said: “Our mission is to develop solutions which can benefit the Malagasy people at large. Housing, like energy, is one of the core needs to which too many people still do not have access.

We are investing in solutions that guarantee the basic standards of living to our communities; these BTCS bricks are a solution which can radically transform the lives of thousands of people, which is why we are committed to bringing this project to life”. 

With Madagascar’s population set to double in the next 30 years, Groupe Filatex is embarking on a venture which could change the future of the country’s housing system. In collaboration with the Ministry of Housing, this construction technique is now in the last normalisation phase. 

The advantages of BTCS are economic, social, environmental, and aesthetic. Groupe Filatex sources bricks locally, eliminating the transportation of materials to production sites and lowering construction costs. Using local raw material, the company respects and safeguards the environment, thanks to the extraction on site of the soil and local production of lime.

By avoiding the firing of bricks, the technique avoids CO2 emissions, protecting the ecosystem and supporting the fight against deforestation. 

Examples of housing projects constructed with Groupe Filatex bricks
Examples of housing projects constructed with Groupe Filatex bricks

The BTCS prefabrication and standardization of the elements also speeds up the construction process. The self-locking and self-aligning mounting system allow for a simple and efficient assembly, opening employment opportunities to the local workforce and the development of know-how and construction skills.  

Finally, the alignment and regularity of the elements, together with the lack of need of seals, ensure a decorative and aesthetic result, with a smooth and regular finish of the bricks. BTCS use, anchored in the Malagasy building tradition, ensures the continuation of local customs and appropriation of a valuable practise by Malagasy people. 

By embarking on this venture, Groupe Filatex aims to make home ownership affordable, safe and for all.

Top Photo: Building with Stabilized Compressed Earth Brick. (Source: Groupe Filatex)

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