What to consider when building a home

A three-bedroom mansionette at Fourways Junction off Kiambu Road, Nairobi. PHOTO/FILE
A three-bedroom mansionette at Fourways Junction off Kiambu Road, Nairobi. PHOTO/FILE
Building a home is a rewarding but expensive affair. However, the following considerations can enable you to significantly lower the cost of building a house.

1.) Foundation – A building’s foundation performs crucial functions such as bearing the weight of the building, isolating the building from ground moisture as well as anchoring against tremors and earthquakes.

It is therefore one of the most important features of a building – costing between 15 and 20 per cent of the total cost.

The type of soil determines how much it will cost you to lay a foundation. Industry experts generally agree that it is cheaper to build on red coffee soil compared to black cotton soil. This is because all black cotton soil must be excavated and carted away at the beginning of a construction project.

The nature of the subsoil also determines the depth of the trenches. The deeper the trenches the more the construction materials would be used. In some cases, the subsoil may necessitate the need to use reinforcement bars – which would work against your plan to build a low cost home.

The terrain of the area will also determine the cost of your home’s foundation, with a fairly level site costing you less compared to a sloping site. This is because a sloping site would require stepped foundations and earth works of cutting and filling.

2.) Walls – One of the most effective ways to lower the cost of walls is to build using machine dressed stones. These stones are usually cut to fit the wall and are eventually cheaper than other stones that have to be chiselled down translating to additional labour costs and a lot of wastage.

3.) Roof – This is one of the most expensive aspects of a house construction project. The cost of roofing is usually determined by the roofing style, material costs, steepness, labour cost, durability and availability of the materials.

One of the easiest ways to lower the cost of roofing is to reduce the steepness of your roof. The steeper a roof, the bigger the surface area – and the more the cost.

3.) Interior finishing –  You can save a tidy sum of money for your flooring by using laminated flooring as opposed to hardwood. Laminated floor boards are attractive and low maintenance flooring options that imitate natural wood flooring.

You can also save money by using match stick or bamboo blinds for your ceiling. These inexpensive but attractive materials are easily installed using strong adhesive.

NOTE: Buying construction materials in bulk is another way of lowering construction costs owing to reduced transport costs and trade discounts.

However, you should invest in enhanced security for your site since theft on construction sites is common.

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