The impact of Covid-19 has shone light on how expensive housing has become, forcing many to move back to the rural areas.
Though President Uhuru Kenyatta’s affordable housing project has promised to reduce the cost of owning a house, a large number of Kenyans will still be left out of the program.
According to Tim Kipchumba, who was crowned constructor of the year by the National Construction Authority (NCA), prefabricated houses are a good way to save on construction costs.
In prefabricated housing technology, skeletons of houses are made in a factory before being transported to a construction site where an entire frame can be assembled.
The model is widely accepted in the US and is slowly taking root in Kenya. The material which is commonly used in the construction of such homes in Kenya are EPS panels.
Prefabricated homes are cheaper than traditional houses in that they save on costs of material.
According to a construction company which deals in prefabricated houses in Nairobi, it costs approximately Ksh 1,111 per Square Metre including transport costs and cost of concrete plasterwork, compared to Ksh 1,550 when using natural quarry stones.
Prefabricated units also consume less time compared to traditional houses that could take years to complete.
When it comes to construction, a lot of time is saved by producing the material using machines resulting in a fast work rate.
“A simple dwelling home can be constructed between one week while a slightly complex 2-storey building can be finished in 60 days,” a representative of prefabrication technology firm explained.
The designs and quality of the structures can be inspected before the house is assembled ensuring customer satisfaction.
Clara Musalia who deals with the mordern units explained that depending on size and designs, a 1-bedroom house could cost Ksh 700,000, a 2-bedroom Ksh1.1 million and a 3-bedroom Ksh3.2 million which is lower than traditional houses.
However, one of the challanges facing the wide adoption of the technology is public perception.
“Kenyans have a problem of security and many belive that stonewalled structures are the most secure,” construction manager Anthony Meme described.
He stated that the biggest beneficiaries of prefabricated houses were large-scale contractors who can benefit on the economies of scale to make large savings.
The acquisition of land is also a factor that has bothered many potential homeowners as well as expensive loans.