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Quality management of RDP housing construction: myth or reality?

Christopher Amoah (Department of Quantity Surveying and Construction Management, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa)
Tanya Van Schalkwyk (Department of Quantity Surveying and Construction Management, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa)
Kahilu Kajimo-Shakantu (Department of Quantity Surveying and Construction Management, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 18 June 2021

Issue publication date: 30 August 2022




South Africa has a large social housing scheme to provide primary housing for less privileged citizens who obtain an average monthly income of less than R 3,500.00. The government seeks to promote an integrated society by developing sustainable human settlements and quality housing within a subsidy system for different income groups. This study aims to examine whether quality management is applied to the reconstruction and development programme (RDP) housing programme during construction.


A quantitative survey approach was selected for this study. This involved using a close-ended questionnaire to collect data amongst 1,893 households who are currently residing in government housing units in the city of Bloemfontein, in the Free State province. The questionnaires were self-administered amongst randomly selected respondents based on their availability at the time of the visit to the above area. However, only the occupants of a household were included in the study. The data gathered were analysed by making use of R-programming software.


The findings revealed that a low level of quality is evident in the already constructed RDP housing units. Most of the inspected units were built with low-quality building materials or were not well-constructed, with derelict structural frames and finishes being evident in most houses. Respondents also indicated that they were not satisfied with the quality of some aspects of the units, such as the plaster and paint finishes, door frames built into walls and uneven floors and floor finishes. These complaints indicate that little to no quality management was applied at the time of construction or even afterwards during the latent defects period.

Research limitations/implications

The survey was limited to responses amongst randomly selected government RDP housing occupants in seven communities in Bloemfontein’s periphery, in the Free State Province of South Africa.

Practical implications

The empirical results from the findings indicate that the South African Government should ensure that quality management is applied during the housing units’ construction. This may mean that a new strategy for verifying the units’ quality will need to be developed, considering the respondents’ concerns by improving the quality of the construction materials and methods used to erect these units. The government should also consider improving contractors’ tender selection criteria to ensure higher quality construction methods, materials and management.


The study has identified quality challenges in constructing the social housing and stated recommendations that will address the identified issues if implemented by the programme implementers. This will help achieve the programme's objective, which is to improve the living conditions of previously disadvantaged individuals through social housing scheme.



Our sincere thank you to the Central Research Fund of the University of the Free State for funding this research. We also thank Mr Sean van der Merwe of the University of the Free State’s statistics department for analysing the research data.


Amoah, C., Van Schalkwyk, T. and Kajimo-Shakantu, K. (2022), "Quality management of RDP housing construction: myth or reality?", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 1101-1121.



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