Interview: Abdelwahid Temmar
How can the housing and urban planning strategy be adapted to address a fast-growing population?
ABDELWAHID TEMMAR: Expanding and diversifying the offering of public housing represents a significant challenge to us due to the country’s constantly rising population. To achieve this goal Algeria has implemented a comprehensive strategy throughout the last two decades, and housing has been being elevated as one of the pillars of national development.
As a result, between 1999 and 2018 more than 3.6m housing units were built, representing AD5.8bn (€42.1m) either invested or engaged. The five-year plan for housing, spanning from 2015 to 2019, set a goal for another 2m units to be built. This would utilise some of the diverse programmes run by the authorities, which aim to provide all citizens with appropriate accommodations.
As part of Algeria’s strategy for the sector, authorities have led the creation of a number of housing programmes, which will address the needs of the population in both rural and urban areas. Through these tailored programmes, which are adapted to various income levels, all citizens are able to comfortably and affordably access the housing market.
In addition, a new urbanism code is being established that will help further develop the sector. One key element of this adapted framework will be the enhancement of the rental market, which remains underdeveloped in Algeria. This is especially evident when compared on a global scale, where approximately 50-60% of real estate demand is for rental.
What measures are in place in the sector to ensure the implementation of international standards?
TEMMAR: Lately, Algeria has established very strict regulations for the construction and housing sector. We aim to guarantee the appropriate application of international standards throughout all stages of our projects, and in all segments, including conception, realisation and building materials. The monitoring of projects is also crucial in order to avoid delays, and therefore controls have also been strengthened.
The housing sector must also be seen as a driver for economic growth. This is why it is a priority to encourage the emergence of competitive players with value-adding innovations in construction techniques and building materials. Modernised housing results in significant economic gains in both the medium and long-term due to less need for rehabilitation and a lower consumption of energy. Thus, we invite national and international investors to pursue their objective to develop and offer competitive technologies for the construction sector.
What are some steps that can be taken to improve energy efficiency in housing facilities?
TEMMAR: In regard to older housing, rehabilitation and renovation programmes are currently taking place in the country’s larger cities, including in Algiers, Oran and Constantine. For new housing, Algeria has taken steps to promote greener housing facilities. The 1997 technical regulation for housing facilities was revised in 2016 to further take into account the need to rationalise costs and save energy. Flat roof isolation, systematic double-glazing and low-consumption lighting are now prerequisites for every housing project. On a larger scale, new cities such as Sidi Abdallah are also equipped with efficiency-based technologies. The expected increase in renewable energy will complement these efforts.
The Great Mosque of Algiers is an example of the authorities’ focus on this goal, with efficiency of water management and energy systems being at the project’s core. Implementation of the appropriate technologies is ensured through partnerships with international companies. These partnerships give us the opportunity to gather the experience and knowledge to boost Algeria’s capacity in the sector.