A Malaysian firm, Koto Housing Ltd., says it can build a three-bedroom bungalow in 14 days using prefabricated building technology, which is gaining popularity in Kenya.
The firm has adopted the expandable polystyrene (EPS) technology that enables it to build a bungalow in about two weeks – with a maisonette taking a maximum of three months to complete.
“In Malasyia, where we are adopting this method from, they have completed a similar house in seven days,” said Moses Nderitu, Koto Housing Kenya Ltd’s project manager.
According to Mr Nderitu, having a team of about eight workers for just two weeks instead of six months (for a conventional building project) saves home-owners loads of cash in terms of labour fees.
Eliminating costs of transportation of building materials, which account for over 60 per cent of overall cost of building a house, also translates into huge savings.
Koto building system is cleverly executed. A house construction project starts just like the traditional building but since the wall panels are light, the foundation is not dug several metres deep.
“We use what is called a raft foundation (where the house rests on a large base [raft]), which prevents the house from cracking due to shifting of the ground,” explains Musembi Mumo, the project architect.
The ‘raft’ offers a huge surface area which means the weight distribution does not over-stress particular points of the structure.
Once the foundation is laid, the columns are placed after which the prefab slabs – which measure 1.2 metres in length and 1.8 metres in width – are fixed into place.
The slabs are made of foam and they have holes that are filled with concrete for reinforcement and this is done after they have been placed on the superstructure.
Koto allows clients to choose from a range of house plans covering everything from two-bedroom bungalows to five bedroom villas.
Bungalows cost as little as Sh3 million for a 85sq m two bedroom unit to Sh6.3 million for a 170sq m three bedroom unit.
Koto maisonettes range from Sh5.5 million for a 150 sq m four bedroom unit and Sh8.5 million for a five-bedroom unit.
The prices cover materials and installation and are exclusive of the cost of land.
Initially, the slabs had to be imported from Malaysia, but the product is now manufactured locally at Koto’s factory in Mlolongo in Machakos County.