PREFAB HOUSING : WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Did you know you could easily build an exquisite and affordable home or develop a property for sale in Kenya, in less than a fortnight?.

You could easily drop and assemble a modular home in just a few days, thanks to prefabrication technology compared with a challenging months-long schedule for a traditional mortar and brick home.

Prefabrication basically refers to the design and manufacture of units or modules, usually in a controlled environment remote from the work site and the installation and permanent assembly at the site. Prefabricated homes commonly referred to as prefab or modular homes mainly use the expanded Polystyrene (EPS) technology and more recently in Kenya, precast cement wall panels.

The materials can either be pre-assembled or completely assembled away from the site. This is how it can be distinguished from the traditional brick and mortar building practice that involves transportation of all the building materials like timber, brick and cement for construction at the site. In prefabrication, only the foundation is made this way. “If most Kenyans welcome this gesture then housing rates might reduce tremendously” says Mr Ndara, Marketing Manager at Villa Care Ltd.

Since most of the work is done at the factory, construction ceases to become such a headache. It speeds up construction time and saves on labor costs and is much more convenient compared to the conventional method that usually takes months if not years to complete. A lot of the problems associated with construction are therefore eliminated and one can be guaranteed of quality control, worker safety and reduction of construction waste. Such technology can be used to make affordable houses for sale in Kenya, enabling the ordinary Kenyan to own a house.

Prefabrication technology is certainly not new and has been in use for centuries. One notable structure is the Sweet Track (England) built in 3800BC. It is the world’s oldest known roadway which used pre-assembled timber.

However in Kenya, people are reluctant to embrace prefab housing because of a misconception. “Many Kenyans assume that prefab housing may not be durable since it is cheaper and takes a shorter time to construct” says Mr Ope, Project Manager at Mentor Group Ltd,

Prefab houses are common in many areas in the world, especially in the US, Malaysia and other South Eastern countries.

Most recently in the Kenya real estate arena, Koto Housing shocked many when they first proposed to build a 3 bedroom house in 14 days for less than 2 million shillings. They have since entered into a partnership with Jamii Bora Bank to see the construction of 3 and 5 bedroom units for customers in Kenya.

prefab-housing-kenya

Prefab housing in Kenya

The biggest challenge to prefab housing is the cost of transporting a prefabricated building and heavy-duty cranes from the factory to the construction site. This could cause quite a dent in the budget of those wishing to build their own prefab home.

“Prefab housing technology in Kenya may not really be time and cost effective. The challenge is finding the right technology for your project as well as skilled labor to pull it off. If they are learning on the job then might take just as much time as the traditional method.” This is according to Senior Architect Michael Odindo of Spectrum Architects.

At a time when the demand of housing in Kenya is at 200,000 units annually at a supply of only 40,000 units, this may be the lasting solution to the biting shortage experienced in affordable housing in Kenya today.

 

Have you read about the precast cement wall panels? Read about it here

Authored by June Siakwei