The April 2015 7.8Mw earthquake in Nepal damaged hundreds of thousands of homes across the country. As the Nepalese continue to rebuild, many of them have chosen extruded aluminium doors and windows rather than traditional wood.
“Previously wood was the first choice for doors and windows. Owing to high cost, the use of wood is fast depleting and people have shifted to aluminium,” explained Anu Rajbanshi, Sales and Marketing Manager at Skylight, a firm that imports Sapa’s Technal products from France and Thai products from Thailand. “Unlike wooden windows and doors, aluminium does not fade, matches with style and design of building, requires less maintenance and paint jobs.”
“The demand for aluminium doors and windows has increased by 200 per cent after the earthquake,” said Managing Director at Nu-Tech Pvt Ltd. Madan Manandhar. “Earlier demand was from urban areas only. But now the demand for products has grown in rural areas too after the earthquake,” he added.
Aluminium’s sustainability, affordability, simplicity, and aesthetic appeal has made it an appealing choice across the country. Prices range between US$2.76 and US$7.37 per square foot depending upon thickness.
“Less than 1mm thickness is not suitable for construction purpose. However, there are many traders selling less than 1mm thick-ness products at low prices,” said Manandhar. The new popularity of aluminium hasn’t been without controversy, though. “As people these days are more price sensitive than quality, traders import low grade aluminium which bends, gets smashed and comes with feeble locks.”
“The demand for aluminium is increasing in the market,” said Amir Thapa, Proprietor at Royal Construction Sewa. “Unhealthy competition has become a big challenge to the business.” Quality varies from one merchant to another, he explained. Pointing out the flood of cheap, low-quality aluminium from the People’s Republic of China that has hit the market, he said, “More than 70 per cent of the market is enjoyed by Chinese products while the rest is from Thailand, India, France and other countries.”