Which is the cheapest way to build?

With housing needs growing ever direr as urbanization and population increase creeps in on us, there are many commercial entities that are advertising very lucrative deals in construction.

Many such deals often include huge savings in the cost of construction compared to the conventional way of doing things.

Wanda Synergy K Ltd led by Architect Maranga Njoroge sort to understand which option really works and indeeds saves you money.

The following technologies were reviewed;

Strawbale Construction – This building technology has a very low carbon footprint and low embodied energy making it very eco-friendly. The walls are made up of bale.

Check out more photos here. The obvious saving here is cost. The technology however has it’s disadvantages, among them is fire, limitation on design and loads the building can safely bear.

Container housing – This is becoming a popular technology in Kenya. Simply put, one gets a container that is refurbished into a housing structure.  Everything You Need To Know About Constructing With Shipping Containers

With this option, a lot of times huge savings can be achieved right off the foundation. In place of the typical foundation, stub columns can be designed on the corners where the container structure would ‘sit’ on.

Interlocking stabilised soil blocks ISSB – There are very many variations of Interlocking blocks with the main difference being the material used.  The most popular block is the Interlocking stabilised soil blocks (ISSB) (also referred to as / Compressed stabilized earth block (CSEB)/ Stabilised mud blocks (SMB)). The ‘wow factor’ of ISSB is that they essentially don’t use mortar (cement and sand mix) but instead lock into each other during construction.

Expanded Polystyrene Panel (EPS technology)- EPS panels are a form of walling and in some form, roofing. EPS is what many people call Styrofoam. Everything You Need To Know About EPS Building Systems

EPS panels are like a sandwich where the meat at the centre is the ‘Styrofoam’ then the bread is a thin layer of reinforced concrete (The reinforced concrete consists of a steel mesh and a mixture of cement, sand, ballast). What one gets is an amazingly light, yet strong panel. These panels can hold tremendous weight (compression) and can handle other forces that subject It to tension very well- like earthquakes.

Light Gauge Steel – Construction using Light Gauge Steel is also fast gaining ground in the Kenyan construction industry.

With this technology, a structural framework of your proposed building is designed and produced out of Light Gauge Steel at a factory. The sections are then transported to site, assembled and clad on either side with Magnessium Oxide Boards, Gypsum or Cement Blocks.

This technology offers amazing speeds (50%) faster and with precision engineering, ensures that the waste on site is reduced considerably. Another big win is the technology’s thermal and sound properties which far exceed the conventional.

So, which is the cheapest way to build?

Wanday Synergy designed a 2 bedroom house with the following specs;

  • Walls to the provider’s choice/preference
  • Windows of your choice, but size as specified in the drawings
  • Doesn’t include septic tank
  • Ceiling as PVC
  • Gauge 28 mabati
  •  Wall tiles to 1800 for bath, toilet and kitchen
  • The veranda to be PCC slabs-no foundation
  • Internal plaster and paint
  • Make a provisional sum for plumbing, drainage and electricity
  •  Does not include access to power cost
  • Internal doors are all flush doors
  • External doors are steel casement with glass panes.
  • Ceramic floor tiles for all floors
  • Kitchen cabinets provision on two walls
  • Assume a foundation depth of 1 metre approx. 3 feet
  • Site within 20kms radius of city centre
  • Exclude design fees and approvals at county
  • Exclude boundary wall, paving, interior design, landscaping, gate
  • Very basic finishing (iron mongery, switches, sockets, bulb holders, faucets etc)

With the exception of Light Gauge Steel Technology, the following are the cost estimates

Koto- EPS (http://koto.co.ke/koto-house-designs/CHATA) +254 789 80 89 91
+254 772 12 44 08 [email protected] [email protected]
Estimate: 1,950,000 (Excluding transport to site, bath and WC are not separate, design costs included, No tiles, No Kitchen Cabinets and no wardrobes).

Hama Homes (EPS) Margaret Muriu [email protected] , [email protected] Tel:+254 731346753 +2540734663130 +254737333117
Estimate: 2,265,545.49 (High preliminaries, looks negotiable)

Milestone Construction (Ndarugo/stone)
Mr. Roy Maina [email protected] 0712658678
Estimate : 1,923,916 (very low preliminaries cost, price likely to vary slightly) (50km radius of Nairobi CBD)

Kevman Construction (ISSB) Mr. Mungai 0715315865 0726367196 [email protected]
Estimate: 2,312,970 (for a strong ISSB wall, many columns are needed and this explains the cost) (50km radius of Nairobi CBD)

Fidelity housing (Ndarugo/stone) George Adulu 0733834520 [email protected]
Estimate : 1,953,960.00 (80km radius of Nairobi CBD)

Fidelity Housing (EPS) George Adulu 0733834520 [email protected]
Estimate : 2,145,710 (80km radius of Nairobi CBD)

Quantity Surveyors’ Estimates by Registered Q.S. Chris Nthale 0723665768
Estimate 1,930,545 (50km radius of Nairobi CBD)


Whatever technology one decides to use, we always recommend that you hire an architect and other construction professionals to walk you through your journey. As we have mentioned before, it is cheaper in the long run. If you would like to confirm that the person you are dealing with is an not a quack, search their name in these websites;

For verifying an architect http://www.boraqs.or.ke/Members/Architects
For verifying a Quantity Surveyor http://www.boraqs.or.ke/Members/QuantitySurveyors

For Engineers (not as updated unfortunately) http://ebk.or.ke/registered-consulting-engineers/

List your business on our Jenga Directory for free here www.pinned.co.ke/directory/add-business

This analysis was done by Wanda Synergy Limited


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