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A Home for Less Than Sh1m

A Home for Less Than Sh1m

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Published by Aamera Jiwaji
Modern and cost effective building approach offers hope for aspiring owners
Modern and cost effective building approach offers hope for aspiring owners

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Published by: Aamera Jiwaji on Mar 05, 2014
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03/05/2014

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
 
|
 
Nairobi Business Monthly 
 
 March

LOW-COST HOUSING
Build a home for less than Sh1 million
Property 
&
Investments
CONTENTS
 Build a home for less than Sh1 million
40
Sh1.7m
Cost of a 3 bedroomed house built according to standards that minimise cost and protect the environment
BY AAMERA JIWAJI
D
id you know that you could build a two bed roomed house anywhere in Kenya for under Sh1 million?It doesn’t seem feasible, especially in a coun-try where property prices are sky rocketing. But it is an innovative approach to housing - a combi-nation of local materials with internationally approved designs - that could radically alter the future of Kenya’s housing market, and be the solution to the country’s perennial housing shortages.It is a technique that Mineco House, a Kenyan company that was founded on the principles of minimum cost, minimum time and eco friendly practices, follows. Licensed in 2009 by seven directors who are professionals in fields such as Civil Engineering, Architecture, Project management, Quantity Surveying and FInance, the company carries out construction projects across the country which are targeted at low and middle income earners. “In Kenya we are used to the conventional method of housing which is expensive,” said the 32-year-old Mr Njiru, managing director of Mineco House who is a CIvil Engineer by profession. But the three pronged approach that Mineco adopts is simple.First, a suspended foundation, which requires less excavation and no foundation walling. This poses less disturbance to the natural soil and reduced interference with natural underground seepage. The elevated foundation “assists with air circulation because when you suspend the foundation, you create an air void” said Mr Njiru and this means that the temperature in
Modern approach o
ff 
ers hope for aspiring owners
the house is better maintained.Second, the use of locally made interlocking blocks which do not use cement and require minimal labour (one mason can stack a full wall in one day, said Mr Njiru). These blocks keep the home three times warmer than concrete, and because they are not baked reduce environmen-tal impact. They also allow easy reconfiguration and correction since the wall can be dismantled and recreated without destroying the bricks. Aesthetically, the assembled wall is appealing, which saves on finishing costs.The interlocking blocks are produced either by diesel powered or manual hydraform machines, and each machine can create between 1,500 to 2,000 blocks a day. Depending on the type of input used, di
 
erent coloured blocks can also be created - and used to create a pattern on the perimeter fence, for instance. Red soil creates earth coloured blocks while quarry or crusher dust make grey blocks.The third step in this economically friendly and cost e
 cient but highly safety conscious construction approach is the use of a combina-tion of steel and timber in the roofing, and the use of wa
 es (pre cast concrete structures) to absorb weight and noise between floors. The wa
 es are made in moulds (Mineco’s yard is located in Ruiru near the Thika bypass) and approximately 300 can be made in a day, with each covering one square metre. The KCB head-quarters at Upper Hill, for instance, uses wa
 es.With the application of these three steps, construction costs can be reduced by between 30% to 40% without compromising on safety or quality, and Mineco has completed numerous private housing projects in and outside Nairobi in areas as diverse as Syokimau, Ruai, Utawala, Ruiri, Bomet, Nanyuki, Nakuru and Meru over the last year. A 3 bedroomed house costs around Sh1.7 million.The property developer has recently embarked on its first large scale housing project at Kitengela, and is constructing forty 3 bedroom units on a 1/8 acre plot at a cost of Sh3.95 million. The show house was completed at the end of last month, and is being marketed by The Mortgage Company.By mid this month, Mineco will embark on its second development project at Juja, on the
 A home owner could be living in their own home (and not paying rent in another house) before the first mortgage payment is even due
Mate Njiru, managing director of Mineco House

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