NV Clients

why choose the Nubian Vault technique ?

The NV technique is well adapted to the environment of the Sahel and other regions with similar conditions, because, compared to the alternatives, the buildings are :

  • more comfortable, with better thermal and sound insulation
  • more affordable, and better integrated into local informal economic circuits
  • more solid and longer-lasting
  • more practical, modular, extendible, with the option of a flat roof-terrace
  • environmentally sounder, as a standard NV house (25 M2) saves 20 tons of carbon-equivalent.

    In which countries?

The NV technique has been developed by AVN for use in countries with a Sahelian type climate, and is valid for Burkina Faso in particular, and for certain regions of Mali and Senegal. Tests are under way in Zambia, Madagascar, and Rwanda, and under some other climatic conditions.

Contact AVN-France for more information on these pilot tests


What's the procedure?

AVN is neither a property developer nor a building contractor. The Association’s role is to put potential clients in touch with suitable trained VN builders, and to provide advice as needed before, during, and after the actual construction.

Potential clients wanting to construct NV buildings should contact a NV builder, either directly, or via the national AVN representative (Burkina Faso, Mali), or via AVN-France, by email, post, or telephone (see Contact AVN for details). Requests are registered and then dealt with according to the availability of NV builders and the location and size of the proposed projects.

Once in contact, the NV builder will advise his client on the manpower and materials resources needed for the project, and provide a cost estimate and schedule. The AVN provides any necessary support to the builder, and will help to resolve any technical or contractual problems. The client provides salaries, lodging, and food to the NV masons and apprentices, and needs to plan for the delivery of materials and provision of unskilled labour.

Proposals to the first clients in priority action zones

In AVN's priority zones, and to help promote the program, the first construction in a village, and any subsequent ones, receive logistical support (contact with trained NV extension agents and builders) and quality control follow-up checks. Groups of villagers who wish to erect several houses, or community-use buildings (schools, churches, mosques etc), may receive additional targeted help from AVN.

 Proposals to Associations, NGO’s, and institutions in the Sahel

Any such organisations wishing to construct NV buildings for their own projects should contact our local / national representatives, or the AVN itself. Guidance will be given on technical issues, plans, and costs.

 Proposals to public or private sector organisations whose funding for construction comes from outside the Sahel

Such clients, who benefit from the AVN program without being its direct target group, will be asked for a financial overhead contribution of 20% of gross construction costs. This contribution will be used to further the overall objectives of the program.

 Proposals to clients interested in the NV-Reinforced Concrete concept

Clients wishing to construct larger buildings using the NV-RC technique (> A Modular Concept) are asked to contact AVN directly in the first instance.


How much will it cost?

The prices quoted below are average - they can vary depending on the country (prices are higher in Senegal than in Mali, and higher in Mali than in Burkina Faso), the milieu (costs are lower in rural than in urban environments), complexity of the building, and the NV builder-entrepreneur.

For construction in a village environment, the following average figures are applicable for the basic structure:

 - When the client provides all the materials (rocks, wall bricks, earth, water) and the unskilled labour, the only payment is for the salaries of the trained NV masons; in Mali, this amounts to 3,000 - 4,000 CFA per linear metre of vault. An average NV house of 7 M length (about 23 m2 habitable area) thus costs around 70,000 - 85,000 CFA, and can be built in 2 weeks, provided the wall bricks and other materials are available on-site.

 - When the client covers all costs (materials, unskilled labour, masons salaries etc), then total costs in Mali are around 20,000 - 25,000 CFA / m2 (in Burkina Faso, around 15,000 - 20,000 CFA/m2, and in Senegal, around 25,000 - 30,000 CFA /m2).

These cost examples are for the main structure of an NV building, and exclude any finishing work. In general, NV masons and builders do not have the necessary skills for finishing and fitting out a building (apart from the traditional rendering techniques for walls and roofs), and, in a rural environment, finishes are generally the client's responsibility. In the future, however, as the NV technique spreads to peri-urban and urban areas, it is increasingly likely that some NV builder-entrepreneurs will also be able to include carpentry, wiring, plumbing, tiling, decorating etc in their portfolio of skills.


Building guidelines for clients

NV House Plans

NV Buildings to visit