Interview : How SL’s housing market is gearing to meet economic, environmental and social challenges

Apr 30, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Landmark Group, a real estate development company bent on challenging traditional approaches to the island’s housing and property market says it is now gearing up to meet the economic, environmental and social challenges facing the industry.

The real estate company is run by leading businesswoman Neelangani Hapangama and managed by two innovative and revolutionary Managing Directors, Eksith and Vinod Hapangama.

Understanding the social, environmental and economic concerns of the present Sri Lankan real estate horizon, Landmark Group has introduced their latest concept of BOX-IT housing.

Managing Director, Eksith Hapangama, elaborated on his views regarding this novel concept……

Q: Tell us about the background of your company, the future plans & expectations from your company?

A: Our main focus has always been directed towards constructing of affordable, mid and high rise buildings for residential and commercial purposes.Our team is a young, dedicated and enthusiastic set of professionals dedicated to make Landmark Group, a one-stop solution for innovative real estate solutions that meets the varying requirements of every client. Along with our own design and construction expertise, we also offer legal, financial and banking consultancy services.

Q: Would you be able to explain the concept of BOX IT and how long will you take to complete a BOX IT project?

A: Building a conventional home is very time-consuming and labour-intensive. We decided to introduce this revolutionary concept through BOX-IT to Sri Lanka to keep on track with the evolving trends.Through BOX IT, clients can build everything from a single storey home or office to a 2-storey multi- bed roomed home, using Recyclable Shipping Containers. It takes roughly a month to fully conclude the building of a BOX IT.

Q: How is the BOX-IT concept environmentally sustainable?

A: Spearheading the concept of BOX IT is utilizing old 20-foot and 40-foot shipping containers to build houses which converts them into fully functioning, environmentally sustainable modern living and working spaces condensed down to 18-20 sq meters.These shipping containers are used globally with thousands of them removed from circulation annually. On the other hand, Box-IT houses are designed so that wastage of our ecological footprint is evaded and more recycling happens day-to-day without hassle.

Q: What would this concept offer Sri Lankan clients?

A: The concept provides clients greater freedom in creating living and work spaces of their preference.The team uses the latest construction and design technologies to create innovative spaces that are built to exacting standards in order to ensure safety, structural integrity and aesthetic appeal.

Landmark Group has extended the BOX IT solution to include prefabricated swimming pools that are created using recycled shipping containers, with either temporary or permanent fixtures. Moreover, Landmark’s various subsidiaries specialise in different aspects related to the industry. Together with all this services and up-to-date technology we believe the concept of BOX-IT will provide the perfect solution for many Sri Lankans. BOX IT provides options to some of the prominent problems in Sri Lanka. Movable small modular houses for disaster relief housing, communities that want to be off grid or live in more remote properties, or to provide the perfect abode for aging population. In addition, millennials has transformed into a generation of passionate travelers.

Q: To what extent is BOX IT durable and how should it be maintained? 

A: The durability and toughness of BOX IT is more than strong enough to be used as homes, especially when compared to other eco-friendly building materials such as recycled plastics or straw bales.However, to maintain this toughness, we recommend not removing sections of the walls for doors, windows and room openings, which affects the structural integrity of the box itself and requires the addition of additional steel beams to carry the load that was held by the removed metal. Also the users need to make sure to regularly maintain containers for prevention from rusting.

Q: How does BOX IT differ from a conventional house?

A: Manufactured homes have a much lower price per square foot than a container home based on similar specs.Energy savings and environmental benefits are comparable. BOX IT is also convenient in terms of portability and accessibility.With BOX-IT the clientcan make their own private space within the same premises, without any hassle.

Q: What are the benefits of BOX IT?

A: Product is more affordable, transportable, and more environmental friendly.The standard height of a BOX IT is approximately 8 feet 6 inches, which will help accumulate space and dissipate heat throughout the structure.Another great advantage of a shipping container home is that it can be built off site and then delivered to your land ready to move in.Shipping container homes can be built incredibly fast.BOX IT solutions save time as delivery can be done in 4 to 6 weeks from order confirmation.They also bring numerous cost benefits that allow customers to get the desired results.

However, users are typically subjected to local zoning and construction regulations, which depend on location. While traditionally constructed houses face these same issues, they are much more common and thus more easily approved in many cases.

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