iLima Digital Foundary and Royal HaskoningDHV partner to deliver affordable housing

iLima Digital Foundary and Royal HaskoningDHV partner to deliver affordable housing

Johannesburg, South Africa, 3 July, 2024 – iLima, a SaaS AI PropTech company specializing in the construction of affordable housing, has signed a Mutual Co-operation Agreement with Royal HaskoningDHV South Africa, an independent engineering and project management consultancy, to accelerate the delivery of sustainable smart villages and affordable housing in South Africa and beyond.

If the housing crisis isn’t solved, increasing numbers of people, including children, will live in unsafe, unsanitary, and undignified conditions, putting additional pressure on the already overwhelmed health, education, and policing sectors.

“We see immediate opportunities in South Africa where both iLima and Royal HaskoningDHV have well-established ‘feet on the ground’ as well as excellent existing business relationships. With a current backlog of over 44 million homes in Sub-Sahara Africa (Source CAHF ), the need is huge to leapfrog traditional inadequate solutions by offering the new AI-driven Sustainable Smart Village solution, said Karsten Popp, CEO of ILima. Our joint solution delivers the village at lower cost, shorter time, improved quality, and better sustainability and transparency, while involving the community in decisions right from the start.”

The provision of housing is extremely slow, owing to disjointed planning and poor communication between the very many stakeholders involved in projects. According to the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF, 2023), in South Africa, over 2.4 million households were still registered on the National Housing Needs Register in 2023.  Further to this, housing development planning is often myopic, focusing only on the structural elements thereof and not on the environmental and sociological needs of the new community.

“We have been working with communities in South Africa for over 100 years to optimize public services, connect with citizens, and create safer, healthier,  better places to live and work. We look forward to bringing our expertise to the table to work with iLima to address the critical housing crisis and improving the quality of life for all.”, Bonga Ntuli, Director of Strategy for Royal HaskoningDHV South Africa.

The partnership aims to address elements such as data management, stakeholder planning, climate resilience, designing with nature, access to livelihoods and community planning, using the latest technology.  Resilient housing components include the use of wetlands for water purification and flood protection, rainwater harvesting and reuse to address water shedding, activities to form a sense of community, and landscaping to reduce heat and provide dignity.

Further to this, planning should include interactive software that enables the various elements of low-cost housing design to be coordinated effectively, not only by the planning, designing, and financing stakeholders, but also by the community members themselves.  This should not only reduce the time taken to provide communities with housing, but also provide community members with design and functionality options, to facilitate a sense of inclusion and ownership.

The signing of the Mutual Co-operation Agreement marks the beginning of a long-term collaboration with both companies dedicated to driving sustainable change.


Company Background:

About iLima

iLima is an independent company based in Johannesburg and Silicon Valley, disrupting the current construction process by harnessing AI, big data, robotics, and industrialized construction technologies to accelerate the construction of affordable housing and self-sustainable smart villages for Africa. This will be achieved through iLima’s unique SaaS AI-driven Construction Innovation Platform (ACIP), that matches producers and users throughout the project lifecycle and enables cheaper and faster construction of affordable housing and sustainable smart villages with greater quality, sustainability, and transparency. The ACIP platform collects, processes, and analyses information, focusing on modelling, measuring, and managing data, fostering autonomy, efficiency, and traceability throughout the village’s lifecycle. It advances construction technology access, with innovative decision support models for fi­nance, sustainability, society, and safety, enhancing community prosperity and housing access. And creating local jobs. Everything Africa Ready.


About Royal HaskoningDHV in South Africa

Royal HaskoningDHV is an independent company founded in the Netherlands in 1881, with offices in South Africa since 1922. The company focuses on integrating engineering, design, consultancy, software, and technology to deliver more added value for clients. Through our mission Enhancing Society Together, we take responsibility for having a positive impact on the world and contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals. We constantly challenge ourselves and others to develop sustainable solutions to local and global issues related to the built environment and the industry. Backed by the expertise of almost 6,000 colleagues working from offices in more than 25 countries across the world, we are helping clients with challenges ranging from climate change and digital transformation to changing customer demands and the energy transition.

For interview requests, please contact:

Roshanne Smith

Communications Manager – Royal HaskoningDHV South Africa