The cost of Building

As a building expert, the most common question that I get from clients is “what is the cost of building a two, three bedroom house?”

Well, there is no correct answer to the above question. There are very many reasons as to why there is definite answer pertaining the cost of a house.

The cost of a house depends on some of these things:

  1. The location of site: This is important as it determines the cost of materials, labor, mobilization and county charges. “Earth Conditions” , whether its murram, clay, rock etc should also be considered.
  2. The size of your house: The cost of a two bedroom house is not the same as the cost of a three bedroom house. The plinth area of the house (square metres covered by the house) also plays a role in the cost, as it directly influences the materials used.
  3. Materials- This is one of the most important factor in building. Most of the building materials are expensive and as such, it is important to consider the available materials and their implicated costs.

It is possible for an experienced professional to give you an “educated guess” on the cost of building. However, these are only preliminary costs that ought to be quantified.

Investing in construction is a capital intensive venture and as such, one needs to ensure that they acquire the value for their money. It is necessary to have a professional visit your site and conduct a “client brief” and advise you accordingly.

A Construction Project Manager will take you through the process. Project managers will “manage” the industry professionals for you and ensure that your budgets, timelines and quality are met.


where are we on housing Kenya?

The last time we had this discussion, we left you at the Architects office where you want to start your first steps of housing your family. Now, a number of you reached out to me and asked me to talk about one thing that i might have overlooked. so therefore, let us take you a few steps back….. Buroti maguta maguta!!!!

Did you know that we have a deficit of about 2million houses in Kenya? Yes, that is right, 2 million! I just thought you should know…

After you finish your degree, and the whole village comes for your graduation in the local secondary school bus, it dawns on you that a new chapter of life has just started. The reality is that the society has so much expectation from you. You old man has never renovated his house. Oooh, and now since you are the village hero with a degree, harambee invitations start streaming in. The kajob you have is paying 25k and Uhuru’s Government is asking for 3000 of it.

Your girlfriend is also pushing you to put a ring on her finger and you fall for the trap, after three months, she starts complaining of morning sickness.. There starts your hustle now, you have to house your people.

Fast forward, you are now 35 with 3 kids, and probably a mpango wa kando. You now need to step up and get a plot for your family. Brokers in Nairobi are more than the plots available. Gakuyo and Urithi are on the screen of Inooro TV every minute and you believe they have the solution to your problem.

The real estate market in the country is one of its kind. Upperhill plot is the cost of owning a premium plot in Manhattan! The pointers in Kenya are just out of this world. Believe you me, the marketing strategies in this country make Kibera look like upstate London. You fall for the line “Live four hours from the Coast!”

Here is the solution, there is nothing much that these real estate companies do to sell land making 300% profits. They only ensure that they do a little value addition and they are off to make their obscene profits.

Value addition is simply adding a little amenities to the land to make sure it sells. Grading the feeder roads, connecting electricity and drilling a borehole or two. Now, why cant you do it yourself? Because it is so expensive for an individual.

Are you in a chama? The only thing that your chama does is merry go round and goat eating. Don’t sleep on your dream to own land. Now, that chama of yours has an account running in hundreds of thousand and some millions. Others only take the money and do table banking. What if you enhanced your dreams and saved towards coming up with a gated community?

Mike you are crazy! We are just a few women and have no idea how to make that happen. We are just a few busy men and we only meet on Sunday at Climate Bar as we talk about our wives.

How is it possible?

Kenyans we are so good in raising money. That is all that matters and we can always start from somewhere.

Raise your 5million and you are able to buy land in Kilimambogo or Juja Farm. The next step, raise some more money and you do some upgrading of the feeder road. With that, you have a number of 1/8 for yourselves.

Get a professional, do proposals and you are on the path to becoming a home owner in a few years.

Talk to me today for more insight.

Where do we stand in Housing Kenya?

What comes into your mind when you think about getting yourself a house?

Do you want to build yours or you are looking to buy one?

Here’s the challenge we have: If you are thinking of building yourself your dream home, then the first thing that comes into your mind is how expensive building is. Why lie, it is really expensive to build a house in Kenya today!!! The first thing you do is talk to your friend Kamau or Omondi who recently built their house in Kamulu or Ruai and they tell you that they had spent a fortune just to bring up the foundation. Your wife on the other hand tells you that her best friends husband has done their house with an Italian Finish and she even shows you the photos of the kitchen. What makes you feel like you are a failure is when you look at the Master Bedroom, it has a walk in closet the size of your sitting room in the two bedroom house you have rented in Kayole.

Now, wanting to redeem your manhood and provide decent standing to your wife and three kids, Kamau tells you that he will introduce you to his top notch Architect. You are excited since you already have a plot in your name although you only have a certificate to show ownership. But its all good. You took the ‘Golden Opportunity’ of Buroti maguta maguta offered by Gakuyo and you paid in two years. What a good deal you got from them…. Now its your time to build!

You get into the Architects office and you are taken aback by the humongous office and the very detailed drawings he has set on the table to prove that he really is an architect. You discuss your needs, something we in the building industry call preliminary client briefing, and he tells you that he is going to charge you 35,000KSH to produce the drawing. He adds that you will need a QS to produce your bills of quantity and you have no idea who a QS is. The costs start to escalate and soon, the county is asking to approve your drawings and you have to psay for the approvals. You have 2million in cash and it is dwindling very fast.

In four months, the contractor is on site and you had to give him a down-payment for him to start. Now your kabudget cannot sustain the speed at which the contractor is eating into it. You decide to take a loan as a top up and the kaloan is also eaten away very fast. The house has to stop now for a while as you try to raise more money to do the homestretch.

Then one weekend when you are in Climate Bar with your guys, one of them starts to brag how he built his family home with EPS technology. You get interested since at the back of your mind you know the trouble you are into since you have accumulated 4 Million in damages from the half finished house. The following day you google about EPS and you find out that there are  number of methods that are way cheaper than the traditional method. You find out about use of Makinga, interlocking blocks, Finch technology and many others.

Since yours is already almost done, well the only advise from me is to get yourself another 1.5 Million and finish yours and that is it. Now if this scenario is still playing in your head, now maybe I can be of a little help to you.

Lets meet here again for the elaborate article on the available cheaper methods of putting up your dream house.