Kenyan builders turn to China for “fashionable” house fittings

Imported fittings can lower costs by up to 40 per cent
Imported fittings can lower costs by up to 40 per cent. PHOTO/FILE
Kenyan home owners and developers are increasingly turning to China for stylish house fittings as they seek to woo fashionable buyers and tenants.

The house fittings from China, including picture frames,drawers, wardrobes, ceiling boards and beams are gaining popularity among high-income earners looking to build dream homes and developers targeting high net worth buyers.

A growing number of Kenyans are also importing fitted kitchens, lampshades, ceramic tiles, wooden flooring and upholstery, thanks to their classy designs as well as their ability to lower costs by up to 40 per cent.

“You do not have to buy wood, engage carpenters, pay them and then perhaps end up with low quality work. You now buy and ask someone to fit,” Joel Kiboi, a contractor in Nairobi, recently to Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Mr Kiboi added that house fittings from China are particularly popular among local developers who are putting up homes for sale.

“The lower the building costs, the higher the profit and that is what all the property developers want. Those imported fittings come in handy because they cut costs by a huge margin,” Mr Kiboi said.

Industrious Kenyans are now flocking to China to buy fittings and building materials, amid complains that Chinese are flooding the local market with substandard products.

But according to analysts, the Chinese sell all kinds of products depending on the quality that buyers want and the amount of money they are willing to spend.

Normally, the Chinese sell products according to grades, with the first number or letter (1 or A) indicating products of the highest quality.

According to Antony Kuyo, a Nairobi-based consultant, Grade A or 1 house fittings from China are of higher quality that locally-made products.

“Those developers who go for Grade 1 offer their clients the value for their money. But sadly, the majority of the developers who are targeting middle-income earners go for lower grade items that get damaged faster, which spoil the name of Chinese products,” Mr Kuyo said.

According to him, the majority of Kenyans who go for top grade fittings usually put them in high-end homes.