Kenya: ceilings under KES 30/ft²

We had a lovely client the other day who had a tight budget for a residential ceiling. The client wanted the final finish to be functional, rather than aesthetical, affordable and moderately durable. We were up for the task and went around looking for local suppliers. Here’s what we found:

1. Plywood ceiling

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The ceiling work well if you don’t mind the visible joints. Choose a minimum sheet thickness of 6mm. Any lower and warping will be your constant roommate.

The final plywood can be stained and painted or embossed in future. Be sure to get in touch with us! Don’t install this alone.

 

2. Makuti

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My grandma warned me about these ceilings. She said they catch fire easily and can raze an entire community. The good news is that they can be treated for fire resistance. It’s also a good idea to ensure that the roof pitch is elevated and water proofing material is used. They can last up to 25years if installed correctly.

3. PVC Ceiling

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Source these from reputable importers (like us). There are many fakes in the market. The difference between a fake and a real PVC Ceiling is the amount of PVC Content in a tile. Some brands sell tiles with PVC Content of below 40% and do not brand their products to avoid detection.

The advantage of of these tiles is that they are Fireproof, Heat Insulation, Moisture-Proof, Mould-Proof, Sound-Absorbing, Waterproof and can be affordable.

4. Chipboard/MDF and related boards

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Go for a minimum of 9mm and you will enjoy added sound proofing. If you have installed coated mabati roofing, you’ll really need this chipboard especially when it’s raining and you can’t hear your own voice ( due to the rain pounding on the roof).

5. Reclaimed wood

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Source easily from the roadside vendors, your neighbor with a demolition, shipping pallet planks etc. We have successfully completed a ceiling in pallet wood planks. We stained each plank to the client’s specification. This is by far the most labor intensive option.

The key to cost efficiency is ultimately in planning. Ensure all materials are on site, plan work schedules, manage your team and expect the unexpected.

 

 

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Building a home back home

 Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. ~Robert Frost

Once you choose to construct a home back home, the next immediate step is to identify how to start. Most people rely on  relatives or friends living within Kenya to select a site (location) , obtain designs and construct the home.  In order to ensure that the building commences and progresses smoothly  they periodically send money home. This arrangement has worked for some but an increasing group of diaspora get conned by their own family members because of poor workmanship or non-existent projects.  Family ties  prevent them  from taking legal action against them. Today we advice you on how to  avoid these problems.

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1.  Let Professionals Handle your Project:

Building professionals ensure a number of things. First, by appointing a team of professional contractors, you benefit from expert advice in design, construction, costs and all other aspects of the project including legal standing.Building professionals also ensure that the quality of workmanship in construction is upheld. They become your eyes and ears on the ground.

Letting professionals handle your project also enables you to easily acquire mortgage  if need be, from lending institutions  In Kenya, a registered architect and some instances, a registered engineer is required for all projects.

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2.  Don’t Send down all the Money at Once:

For construction projects, it is smart to remit funds gradually as opposed to in lump sums. The reasoning is this: the risk of loss of funds in unscrupulous deals is reduced.

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3. Conduct due diligence

Always make an effort to verify all project details.  These details include:the validity of issued certificates, the evidence of the construction site, the status of the project and the reputation of the contractors.

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4. Stay connected with your local team

Keep constant communication with your local contractors. Make an effort to visit the site at least once a year, to assess the situation on the ground. Keep your eyes on your investment!

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5. Retain all relevant documents

Your property documents are what you need and will stand proof of ownership in case of legal tussle or private incursions. Examples may include the title deed/settlement agreement or share certificate for the land, the architectural & structural documents and significant agreements.

In KENYA?

You may find the paper below particularly useful.

The Cost of building works paper can be downloaded below

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CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS

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There are three essential requirements of any contract.

  1. Incentive: The prime aim is to provide an adequate incentive for efficient performance from the contractor. This must be reflected by an incentive for the client to provide appropriate information and support in a timely manner
  2. Flexibility: the prime aim is to provide the client with sufficient flexibility to introduce change which can be anticipated but not defined at the tender stage. An important requirement is that the contract should provide for systematic and equitable evaluation of such changes.
  3. Risk sharing: the prime aim is to allocate all risk between Client and Contractor. This must take into account the management and control of risk which materialize.

Types of Construction Contracts

There are various types of contract strategies in construction industry. Some of the main choices available are:

  • Traditional Contracts

A consultant (or team of consultants) undertakes the process of feasibility, detailed
design, and contract preparation. A tender process follows and thereafter construction
installation and commissioning by the appointed contractor. The consultants who
developed and designed the project supervise these.

  • Design and Build

A consultant undertakes the process of feasibility, establishing the client’s basic needs
and contract preparation. A tender process follows and thereafter the appointed
contractor undertakes detailed design, construction, installation and commissioning.
This type of contract is also known as turn key or prime contracts

  • Management contracts

The client initially appoints consultants to undertake feasibility and costing and
perhaps outline design.A management contractor is appointed early in the project life and has considerable design input.

The management contractor’s responsibility is to prepare and appoints trade contracts or supply packages. Separate contracts are drawn up for independent parts of the construction project. A large amount of work is divided amongst several contractors.

  • Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT)

In its many forms a BOOT contract not only includes the initial design and
construction of the facility but a continuing maintenance and perhaps refurbishment
of over a number of years until final transfer to the client. Finance is often provided
by the contractor who recovers his cost through the life of the project. Other terms are
PFI, PPP etc

The concession agreement is the structured contract between the client and contractor.
It identifies and allocates risk. 

Modes of Payments

The two main payment systems used in construction contracts are:

  • Price Based: this system consists of lump sum and admeasurements. Prices or rates are submitted by the Contractor in his tender
  • Cost Based: This payment system consists of cost-reimbursable and target cost. The actual costs are incurred by the contractor and reimbursed, together with a fee for overheads and profits.
  • Price Based Payment System

Risk Allocation
A prime function of the contract is to allocate risk. The identification and
consideration of risk is a logical way to develop the organisational and contractual
policies for any project. Some of these uncertainties will remain whatever type of
contract is adopted and the contractor must then include a contingency sum for them
in his tender.
Different levels of risk contingencies can explain the wide range of bid prices
frequently received for admeasurements contracts. Another consequence of risk is that
fewer contractors are prepared to respond to or submit unqualified bids.
All parties to a project are at risk to some extent whatever the contract between them,
for instance that work may be frustrated by the forces beyond their control. If so, the
time lost and all or some of their consequent const may not be recoverable. The
choice of type of contract can motivate (or fail to motivate)