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Business Plan for Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Building Elements Manufacturing

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a thermoplastic material manufactured from styrene monomer, using a polymerization process which produces translucent spherical beads of polystyrene. It is derived from the distillation process of crude oil and is 100% recyclable (Momoh & Folorunsho, 2018).

EPS usage has extended to the building and construction industry and used for over 50 years in various countries. The demand for EPS housing elements is directly derived from the demand for housing of all types. This Business plan is for an EPS panels manufacturing plant in Nigeria to produce EPS elements such as wall panels, floor slabs and fascia for building construction especially residential housing.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a thermoplastic material manufactured from styrene monomer, using a polymerization process which produces translucent spherical beads of polystyrene. It is derived from the distillation process of crude oil and is 100% recyclable (Momoh & Folorunsho, 2018).

EPS usage has extended to the building and construction industry and used for over 50 years in various countries as insulation foam for closed cavity walls, roofs and floor insulation. Highway Construction, Road , Road Embankments, Retaining Wall or Abutment Backfill, Slope Stabilization, Pavement Insulation e.g. Airports, Basement Constructions, Car parks, bridges, floatation, public buildings, drainage facilities and family residences.

The demand for EPS housing elements is directly derived from the demand for housing of all types. Derived demand is a market demand for a good or service (in this case EPS elements) that results from a demand for a related good or service which is buildings or housing of all types. EPS wall and fascia elements are estimated by a study to account for 18% of the total cost of building materials for a house in an Abuja estate in Nigeria.

The dominant building technology for walls and other elements in Nigeria is sandcrete (cement blocks) which accounts for about 90% of the walls and ground floor slabs built.

However, EPS has superior advantages over the Sandcrete method and other building methods which include the following: EPS elements are pre-fabricated in factories and installed on building sites which makes it the fastest means of building a house in Nigeria. It takes 10 days to build a two bedroom flat bungalow using EPS walls as against 28 days using Sandcrete. This fast speed of construction using EPS allows building contractors to take on multiple projects at the same time.

Eps has temperature regulation properties meaning it is energy saving and reduces the need for air cooling equipment and its panels are estimated to be about 32% cheaper than using Sandcrete walls. EPS is not altered by external agents such as fungi or parasites as they find no nutritional value in the material. It can be reground, recycled and reused in many composite applications such as lightweight concrete. It has a closed-cell structure that limit water absorption and ideal for swampy and water logged areas.

EPS is completely compatible with other materials used in construction including cements, plasters, salt, fresh water, lime, gypsum and sand. EPS is also safer and reduces site disruption because here is significantly less truck traffic, equipment and material suppliers around the final construction site. This limits the disruption of traditional job sites that suffer from noise, pollution, waste and other common irritants. EPS is visually appealing with consistent quality.

Several factors will drive the demand of EPS building elements in Nigeria and they include: Nigeria is the most populated nation in Africa (201 million as at 2019) and its continuous population increase far outstrips its housing needs with the direct consequence being lack of and inadequate housing. Nigeria is currently facing a national formal housing deficit of over 23 million units as at 2019 and the biggest supply gap is the low income residential segment.   The current formal housing production of 200,000 to 300,000 units annually is not good enough to cover the housing gap.

Other factors that will drive EPS demand include: increased funding to the housing construction and mortgage sector through several financial institutions such as Family Homes Fund (FHF), Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Mortgage Re-finance Company (NMRC), Nigerian Mortgage Guarantee Company (NMGC), Mortgage Interest Draw Back Fund (MIDF), Primary Mortgage banks, Commercial Banks and a recently revitalized Shelter Afrique.

This increased funding and population growth combined with the disadvantages of the Sandcrete building method, the superior benefits of EPS and the need for affordable and faster housing construction will drive demand for EPS.

This Business plan is combined with a feasibility study for an EPS panels manufacturing plant in Nigeria to produce EPS elements such as wall panels, floor slabs and fascia for building construction especially residential housing. It includes the market feasibility, industry analysis, technical feasibility, financial feasibility and the strategies to be employed in acquiring market share.