What are your Real Estate needs?

Lessons that property managers can learn from the oil industry

My training is in real estate and that’s where my passion lies. However, i have had a chance to study about oil and work in an oil exploration field.

I have seen how different and meticulous this oil industry is. It’s in a level of its own.


The oil industry doesn’t operate on minimum standards, it operates on best / highest standards. This industry doesn’t just prefer safety, it says, “Safety First”. As if that is not enough, they operates in a manner to suggest that it’s “Safety only”. If it’s not safe, don’t do it. They know that people are their most valuable resource and they will go to whatever lengths to protect them. You will easily find slogans like “No PPE, NO work”. PPE is Personal Protective Equipment like gloves, helmets, goggles etc.

Time is money

This is a multi billion industry and everything has to go as planned. There’s a well that was to be drilled in Northern Kenya and the contractor had been given 90 days to drill a 4000 Meter deep oil well. The contractor used 91 days. In any standard, this is good. However, in the oil industry, it’s not good. If its 90 days, its 90 days, not 91. Harsh.. yes, but that’s the reality. I once worked for an oil consultant on a real estate project. I was working from his office. When we did a mid contract review, one of the areas that were pointed out as failure on my part was arriving to the office at 0805 hrs instead of 0800 hours as we had agreed on the contract. I was in shock, i thought to myself, “how unrealistic, this is Nairobi..”


This industry has policies for everything, malaria policy, smoking police, stop work policy,  driving policy, alcohol policy, safety policy any kind of policy that you can think of is written down… nothing is left to chance. Every one working in an oil site is taken through the numerous policies during a thorough orientation.


The oil companies have to enforce all these policies in order to achieve an accident free work environment. This is done through random fire and security drills, installation of smoke detectors in “non smoking zones” and random alcohol tests among many other measures.

I hope property managers have seen a thing or two they can borrow from this industry and apply in their normal every day operations. If these look like impossible lessons to practice, let this riddle encourage you.

“How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: A bite at a time.” – Children’s riddle, author unknown

The book, “The ABC of REAL estate investment in Kenya” will make you a wiser investor.

Order a copy of the book by sending an email to  info@kariukiwaweru.com

Kariuki Waweru

Compare listings