After going through some construction work in Kenya i really hope the following information will be of help to you, if you are planning to build a house in ‘shagz’.
Where to Start?
Firstly, there are two courses of action available to you – you can choose for a “Full Cost Contractor” (where you enter into a contract for the full price of the project and pay it off in agreed stages) or you could choose for a “labour-only contractor” (in this case, you will supply all the materials, and the contractor provides his ‘expertise’ in construction processes along with the required labour force.
Honestly speaking, the first option is more expensive, but has less hassles. Another thing, such contractors are very rare- and will most likely be the more established companies.
The third option is to ‘go-at-it-yourself’, which involves sourcing for labour force (masons, plumbers electricians etc).
Surprisingly, this is the cheapest, but the quality of build is at risk unless you have been in the industry before or someone you trust has, or you know how to crack the whip at lazy workers and poor workmanship.
Cost Of Building
A very important point is that, cost of building is highly influenced by the type of finishing you choose; electrical/plumbing/other finishing components and allied labour costs are dependent on your taste and desired quality – and can fall into a very wide spectrum.
A golden advice is that, do not penny-pinch on the labour, as you will end up forking out much more on repair due to shoddy work.
Building Approvals And How To Avoid Them
Many people dont take this seriously, just make sure that your building plans are approved by the your county government, and the stamped copy is always kept on the site – regular visits by corrupt officials is quite common, and you will struggle to get the certificate of completion if you do not have this. (But if you are building in shagz, probability of these officials getting to your site is almost zero)
Thieves On Site
Before starting the actual building try to put up the perimeter wall / fence – and do this very quickly. Shagz are notorious for material theft – and the wall will help with security. This will save, otherwise you will end up buying lots of material which gets stolen over night – and you will end up re-purchasing the next day.
As per now “Covid times “, the average cost of a bag of cement is Ksh 600, the cost of a lorry load of stone (9’X9′) is Ksh 15,000 – 20,000) and the cost of a lorry of sand is Ksh 20,000. Endless lorry loads of all these are needed, so get a reasonably priced and steady supplier…
Plenty of metal for the foundation, pillars, and lintel (Y8, Y10 & Y12) which can cost upto Ksh 1000 per piece are required – sadly, these are the ones that often get stolen at night when you have left the site for the day.
For windows and doors, it depends on the size and design – try to budget between Ksh 10,000 and Ksh 15,000 per window.
Ceiling, going for cheaper ceiling boards (Ksh 800 per panel, and u use 100 panels on a 40ft x 40ft house that’s about 80,000), iron sheets costing about 170,000.
Please budget an additional Ksh 70,000) for connecting piped water and applying for electrical connection.
Armed with about Ksh 1.5 million, you have a good house to retire to.
Have a good construction, won’t you!
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