Dormer Bungalows: A New Trend in Design

A standard building for residence is preferably a 3 bedroom house.  The trend that we have witnessed in the market, has been that building sizes have been increasing with time. In 1980’s for example, the minimum size of a room was 70 sft (7ft x 10ft). In 1990’s, we have seen the minimum room size increase to 100 sft (10ft x 10ft) and in the 21st millennium, with the popularity of studio- apartments or bedsitter (that are self-contained) and luxury living among Kenyans, we are projecting the room sizes to increase in the range of 144 sft (12ft x12ft) to 250 sft (15ft x15ft). That implies that a 3 bedroom house, with 2 baths, a laundry, a kitchen, dining and living room and a corridor space, (10 livable-spaces) has increased in size from the 800 sft in the 1980’s to 1000 sft in the 1990’s, and about 1,440 sft in the current era. Hopefully, future 3 bedroom houses will range in the neighborhood of 2,000 sft.

Surprisingly, the cost of construction has not changed much, until very recently. This has been as a result of sudden inflation and skyrocketing of land prices across the country in major town and cities, partly due to demand, partly due to speculation purposes, as we have seen major infrastructure projects like roads, superhighways, airports, and Standard Railway Gauge construction along major transport corridors. The other has been general inflation cost that has made the standard of living so high that wages too had to rise and the cost of imported materials like steel and cements whose prices are affected by global factors, like oil prices, the dollar, and international geopolitics etc., factors out of control of the Kenyan government.

On that note, the last reported survey of construction costs by the Institute of Quantity Surveyor of Kenya, gave these as some of the baseline figures for costs approximation purposes. Actual construction costs may vary from these figures by small to large margins, so they are best used cautiously as guides rather than rules or laws. For low end residential construction (2,000 to 2,500/= per sft), for Medium End residential Construction (3,000/= to 3,500/= per sft) and for High End residential construction (4,500/= to 5,000/= per sft). The implication of this is that a 1,500 sft bungalow with minimum or basic finishing, may cost in the range of 3 million to 3.7 million shillings. Remember that these are estimates and not exact values.

To that end, bungalows are the natural choice for Kenyans who want to build their own homes, because it’s the path of less resistance. But bungalow designs in Kenya are wanting to say the least. Sometimes, they even look alike, especially the roofs. To that twist, I wish to propose the Dormer Bungalows. Dormer bungalows are different because of the addition of a roof feature called a dormer. This is essentially a window opening in a roof system. The advantages of the dormer bungalow are that they create more natural lighting in the building, they are attractive and more importantly, they give one a chance to create and use the attic space. Dormer bungalows normally have roofs at 45 degrees or greater.

An attic is the room just below the roof and it’s mostly not in a usable condition because the ceiling joists do not provide enough structural flooring conditions or the roof pitch is less than 45 degree, thus not proving enough headroom for a person to stand upright, or it’s just inaccessible. The attic room can be used for many other things like additional rooms, storage, children play room, wine room, guest or extra bedroom, entertainment room, among others. Ideas on attic spaces are endless and the dormer bungalow is what makes it possible.



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