The best Process of House construction in Kenya 2024

House construction is like any other project—you need to budget and plan well. Our guide is here to help you save money and time when you’re building your first home.

House construction

For many Kenyans who want their own home, buying one that’s already built is a good idea. There are many houses you can choose from. But what if you have a particular kind of house in mind?

Building a house lets you have one that’s exactly what you want. You can decide on the layout, design, and even the specific fixtures and fittings.

However, overseeing the house construction, choosing materials, getting government approvals, and managing the whole project can be challenging—especially if it’s your first time.

A Beginner’s Guide to House Construction In Kenya

1. Looking for Land

Deciding on the Location, Size, and Budget

If you haven’t secured a piece of land yet, the first step is to determine the location, size, and budget for your future property. If you’re unsure where to start, consider online platforms for land sales or consult with a real estate agent. Real estate agents can provide valuable advice on potential areas and assist with negotiating the best purchase price. Keep in mind that agents typically charge a fee ranging from 1% to 10% of the land price, and this fee is negotiable.

Gathering Essential Information

To gather essential information about the land, you can either rely on your agent or personally reach out to the ministry of lands. Find out details such as the landowner, zoning structure, required permits, and whether clear boundary marks exist. In addition to the land price, be prepared for other costs, including a land rate clearance certificate, land maps from the Lands Ministry, ground verification (beacon installation), legal fees, stamp duty, and a new title deed certificate.

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2. Deciding on Your Financing

Seeking Bank Financing

Unless you have a substantial amount of money readily available, securing financing from a bank is a common route for house Construction. Obtaining a construction loan can be more challenging than a traditional mortgage, as you’re essentially seeking funds for a concept rather than an existing structure.

Detailed Estimates and Costs

When approaching a bank for financing, it’s crucial to provide detailed estimates of the construction costs. This should include comprehensive floor plans, budget projections, and a list of materials required to complete the construction. Costs associated with a construction loan include a down payment (typically 20-25%), interest on the loan (12-14%), home insurance, and life assurance to guarantee loan continuity in the event of death or inability to service the loan.

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Exploring Loan Options

Some financial institutions may offer options that include land purchase costs within the loan amount, while others focus solely on covering construction expenses. To make an informed decision, consult with at least three different loan providers, comparing terms and conditions before settling on the most suitable one.

Budgeting and VAT Considerations

After loan approval, funds are disbursed in installments upon achieving predetermined construction milestones. Some banks may require only interest payments during the construction phase, providing flexibility and additional time to save. Others may stipulate repayment only after the completion of the project.

It’s prudent to anticipate potential cost overruns by incorporating an additional 10% buffer into your initial budget. When formulating your budget, don’t overlook the 16% value-added tax (VAT) on the cost of construction items.

3. Deciding on the Size and House Plan

Starting Small and Adding Extras

Building a custom home offers the opportunity to tailor the design to your preferences. While it’s tempting to include every desirable feature, starting with a modest plan and adding extras later can be a more financially prudent approach.

Considerations for Size and Design

Consider several factors when determining the size and design of your house:

  • Number of Bedrooms: Aim for enough rooms to accommodate individual sleep spaces for each person, plus a guest room or office.
  • Number of Bathrooms: Plan for at least two bathrooms—one for the master bedroom and another for the rest of the family or guests.
  • House Layout: If you have a baby, strategically position the nursery to share a wall with the master bedroom for proximity. Ensure privacy by avoiding shared walls between bedrooms.
  • House Orientation: Optimal sunlight exposure can be achieved by having the main rooms face east and west. A house facing south tends to receive more sunlight throughout the day.
  • Square Footage: Collaborate with an architect to estimate the square footage based on your chosen house plan.

Once you have the square footage, calculate the land-to-building ratio by dividing the land’s square footage by the building’s square footage. An ideal ratio ranges between 2.5 and 3.5, ensuring efficient land utilization. Ratios higher than 3.5 indicate excess land, while ratios lower than 2.5 may result in a cramped house.

Seeking Inspiration and Utilizing Technology

Seek inspiration by exploring different neighborhoods and vacant houses. Online platforms like Pinterest offer a plethora of house plans to replicate. Additionally, utilize free planning apps like Planner5D to visualize your home before construction begins.

Future Desirability and Budget Alignment

If you anticipate changing homes in the future, factor in the design’s long-term desirability. For instance, consider incorporating an extra bedroom to accommodate a growing family.

It’s essential to recognize that your chosen design will influence overall construction costs. Elaborate designs often entail higher expenses, so align your design choices with your budget and the size of your land.

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4. Hiring the Right Professionals

The Importance of a Competent Team

While the idea of managing a construction project independently may seem appealing for potential cost savings, the lack of construction experience can lead to costly mistakes with long-lasting consequences. House construction requires a team of skilled professionals to ensure structural integrity and safety.

Key Professionals in Your Construction Team

  1. Architect:
    • This individual transforms your vision into a detailed house plan. Architects typically charge around 6% of the construction costs and play various roles, including creating detailed drawings, specifying requirements and cost estimates, ensuring compliance with safety and building regulations, assisting in securing bank financing, and suggesting or choosing subcontractors.
  2. Quantity Surveyor:
    • Responsible for managing costs, quantity surveyors ensure that the project stays within budget. They typically charge 3-4% of the total construction costs and handle tasks such as preparing the bill of quantities, providing cost estimates, dealing with contracts and legal matters, and arranging subcontractors’ payments.
  3. Electrical Engineer:
    • Focused on installing essential services like plumbing and wiring, electrical engineers charge around 2% of the total construction costs. Their tasks include ensuring compliance with electrical codes, designing, testing, and installing electrical systems, resolving electrical problems on-site, designing air and plumbing systems, and maintaining on-site equipment.
  4. Construction Engineer:
    • As the overseer of the project, construction engineers are responsible for the project’s overall safety and progress. They charge around 2% of the construction costs and inspect drawings and designs for feasibility, hire subcontractors, supervise subcontractors, work with quantity surveyors to order materials, and ensure the project stays within budget.
  5. Interior Designer (Optional):
    • While not mandatory, an interior designer can enhance the aesthetics of your home. If you choose to hire one, they can provide advice on furniture, color schemes, lighting, mirrors, and wallpaper. Interior designers ensure a balance between decorative and practical elements, creating synergy within each room.

Credential Verification and Regulatory Compliance

When selecting professionals, verify their credentials and ensure they are registered with relevant regulatory boards, such as the Board of Registration of Architects & Quantity Surveyors (BORAQs) and the Engineers Board of Kenya.

5. Building the House

Active Involvement in the Construction Process

Now that you have assembled a competent team, it’s essential to maintain an active role throughout the construction process. While your professionals will handle the technical aspects, your involvement ensures that the project adheres to timelines and budgets.

Construction Timeline and Stages

The construction process typically spans seven to twelve months, depending on factors such as the house size, plan complexity, and the number of workers involved. The stages of construction include:

  1. Land Preparation: Clearing debris and vegetation, performing soil tests, typically taking one to two weeks, depending on land size and vegetation density.
  2. Laying the Foundation: Excavating the foundation and pouring concrete to support steel rods, lasting between two to five weeks.
  3. Framing the Structure: Constructing the frame using wood and incorporating a house wrap to prevent moisture damage, taking approximately eight to ten weeks, depending on home size and design.
  4. Plumbing and Electrical: Installing electrical wiring, pipes, heating, and cooling systems after the house has dried up, completed in approximately three weeks.
  5. Roofing: Selecting roofing design and material will depend on your budget and how long it will last. The developer can advise you on the best option to pick. This will range from one to two weeks.
  6. Interior and Exterior Finishes: Installing doors, windows, kitchen counters, cabinets, and working on any exterior fittings. This could take one to two weeks.
  7. Flooring: The type of flooring you settle on will depend on the cost of material and how easy it is to maintain. Some of the types include hardwood, vinyl, ceramic tile, terrazzo, carpet flooring, and laminate flooring. These will take any time between one to two weeks.
  8. Decorating: Can be done using the pieces you already have in your current house. Alternatively, you can upgrade with new pieces to fit your brand new house. Depending on the complexity of your decor, this could take between one day to two weeks.
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6. Inspecting Progress and Ensuring Quality

As construction progresses, it’s crucial to conduct regular inspections to ensure that the work aligns with your expectations and adheres to quality standards. Work closely with your construction engineer and other professionals to address any issues promptly.

7. Addressing Construction Challenges

Construction projects often encounter challenges, such as unforeseen site conditions or weather-related delays. Maintain open communication with your construction team to address these challenges effectively and adjust timelines and budgets as needed.

8. Incorporating Sustainable Practices

Consider incorporating sustainable practices into your construction project. This includes using eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient systems, and environmentally conscious construction methods. Sustainable practices not only benefit the environment but can also lead to long-term cost savings.

9. Managing Payments and Budget

Throughout the construction process, manage payments to subcontractors and suppliers diligently. Keep track of expenses to ensure they align with the budget. Clear communication with your quantity surveyor and financial team is essential to avoid financial surprises.

10. Finalizing the Project

As the construction nears completion, work with your construction engineer to conduct a thorough walkthrough. Address any remaining issues or touch-ups to ensure the final result meets your expectations. Obtain all necessary documentation, including the certificate of occupancy, before officially moving into your new home.

11. Post-Construction Considerations

After moving in, there are additional considerations:

Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial to preserving the longevity of your home. Create a maintenance schedule for tasks such as HVAC system checks, roof inspections, and addressing any minor repairs promptly.

Home Insurance

Ensure that your new home is adequately insured. Consult with an insurance professional to discuss coverage options that protect your investment in case of unforeseen events.

Enjoying Your New Home

Finally, take the time to enjoy and personalize your new space. Decorate and furnish it to make it truly feel like home. Consider hosting a housewarming gathering to share the joy of your accomplishment with friends and family.

Conclusion

Building a house involves a series of strategic decisions, careful planning, and collaboration with a skilled team of professionals. By following these steps and staying actively involved in the process, you can navigate the complexities of construction and create a home that aligns with your vision and budget. Remember that patience and flexibility are key as you embark on this exciting journey of turning your dream home into a reality.

Frequently asked questions about House construction In kenya.

  1. What to do before building a house in Kenya?

    1. Look for Land: If you’ve got the ideal plot, you’re off to a great start.2. Decide on Financing: Unless you’re swimming in cash, a bank can help with the financial side.3. Choose Size and House Plan: Define your vision by determining the size and layout that suits you best.4. Hire Professionals: Bringing in the right experts ensures a seamless process.5. Build Your Dream Home: With everything in place, it’s time to turn your vision into reality.

  2. What are the 4 mandatory construction approvals in Kenya?

    There are four mandatory construction approvals in Kenya: Architectural plan approval . Structural plan approval . EIA license/NEMA approval .

  3. How much does it cost to build a corrugated iron house in Kenya?

    Sure thing! Building a simple tin house in Kenya usually costs between Ksh20,000 to Ksh47,000 per square meter, excluding the cost of land. But here’s a cool fact: You can make your tin house look better and comfortable for renters without spending too much money on it!

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