Affordable housing in Kenya is a reality
This surprises even me, for I have often thought that owning a house is for the “other” class. Truth is, with a little homework, you too will discover that affordable housing in Kenya is real and within reach.
- Use of eco-blocks
This technology is relatively new in the Kenyan market. As discussed in an earlier article (the eco-block), one needs an eco-block machine to create several of these blocks.
Using the eco-block may save him about half of the cost of conventional building. The technology also speeds up the building process, so that a small house can be ready in weeks.
The biggest setback is making the blocks correctly. Not everyone can do it, and some training is required. It may also be hard for some to buy a machine due to cost, and not many people are willing to adopt anything less than stone and mortar for their houses.
- Getting professional advice
Even in small projects, it is recommended to seek out experienced builders or an expert to offer some advice. I know of a man who chose to get a drawing from an architect but later parted ways with him. He proceeded on with the project, but had to change one or two things as the project proceeded.
He confesses that it was one of the hardest things to do, to build without advice. Many mistakes were made, that may have been avoided. This not only proved costly, but time wasting as well.
Don’t think you know it all. Seek some advice.
- Avoid areas with bad soils, like the black cotton soil
You’ll have to remove all the soil, or dig really deep before getting firm ground to build your foundation upon.
Black cotton soil swells when wet. This will cause cracking to any structure placed upon it directly.
- Avoid fancy designs, with too many corners, unless you can afford it
The whole idea is to save on the building material. Unnecessary details that can be avoided will go a long way in saving you that hard-earned coin.
- Get council approvals
If you decide to build your house in areas where council laws are observed in terms of building approvals, ensure to follow the rules. Get your designs approved before proceeding with the building.
Simple reason; council may demolish some of your development. And they do demolish what they consider illegal developments. Imagine building a wall only for it to be demolished at your cost.
- Get a good contractor or builder
Half the time, shoddy contractors are the biggest obstacle to achieving affordable housing in Kenya.
- Take the long way; avoid costly shortcuts
Don’t use too little cement for your concrete or mortar. Don’t make your foundation trenches too shallow. Don’t make your floors to slim, just to save on concrete. Short of it is, don’t try to cut cost by compromising quality and standards. It will cost you a whole lot more later on.
- As much as possible, use locally available building material
That imported tile may look good, but can you get one of same quality locally? Locally available materials save on transport costs and other charges levied on exotic materials.
- Adopt green building techniques
This will bring down energy costs and promote self reliability in terms of energy use at home.