The first types of Structural Insulated Panel housing in Kenya were steel sandwich types. These are 2 metal plates with polystyrene sandwich in between for insulation purposes. These panels then interlock to form the wall and roof structure.


These can be seen at the Chinese company constructing Thika super highway offices opposite Warren concrete at Kasarani. Also, the road construction company constructing Namanga road at Kajiado have used such.

Of late , another type of SIP, made using concrete has entered the Kenyan market. It’s called the Fibre Cement board.

Another is the Oriented Strand Board type. Oriented Strand board is a material similar to ply wood that forms the external skin with the inside sandwich made from insulating material such as polystyrene.


There is also reinforced concrete panel ype of construction. This produces heavy panels which require cranes to hoist. There are currently in use at Ruiru at the Dhodia group warehouses. These are very strong and long lasting.

Fibre Cement Board.

National Housing Corporation is in the process of constructing a factory to produce these types of SIPs. A Chinese company along Mombasa road has been active of late in advertising for the sale of these boards.
Construction Cost Savings.
SIP panels only deal with the wall and roof elements of construction. A typical building has several elements namely, foundation, walling, roof, windows/doors, finishes, services eg plumbing/electrical works and external works such as septic tank, fence, gate. To achieve substantial savings, all these elements must be designed to save at least some % from the total cost. To achieve cost reduction, someone needs to do much more apart from only saving from the wall and roof elements.

Current wall cost comparison.

The SIPs available in the market cost approx. kes 1800 per m2 without transport and labour. Masonry wall costs kes 800 without transport and labour.
Each stone is approx. kes 60 and there are 12 stones in 1 m2.
Therefore, if the site is in a place where masonry stones are available, there will be savings if the stones are used compared to the SIP panels. On the other hand, areas which don’t have masonry stone eg Nyanza, North Eastern, Eastern provinces, the SIP panels would be a considerable option.

Natural quarry stone is the most durable, with a lifespan of 50 years. This can be seen in the numerous 50 to 100 year old bungalows constructed during the colonial period in Upper Hill, Kileleshwa and Kilimani areas OF Nairobi.
The SIP Panle durability depends on how thick the outer panel is. The thicker, the longer the durability.

The house dimensions needs to be designed in multiple lengths of 1.2m and heights of 2.4m. This is the standard length and with of the average panel. This ensures less cutting/wastage.

Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.

Francis Gichuhi (692 Posts)

Architect Francis Gichuhi . B.Arch. University of Nairobi. Registered Architect, Kenya. Member, Architectural Association of Kenya. Contacts. email Telephone +254721410684



  1. Kimani
    May 27, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Hi, please answer me these questions:
    Where can I buy wall panels for a three bedroom house to transport to my rural home? What is the approximate cost? Do you have people who can install them? How long would it take? How much would it cost?

  2. Mutahi
    May 29, 2014 at 6:57 am

    Hi Kimani,
    You can Buy the panels at NHC offices, in mlolongo, for single panels, each costs Kshs. 6,200. ( and for this am talking about the EPS panels) .For the walling, you need about 60 panels but we would need the plans to do a proper BOQ. Our company does installations of the same, it would take 21 days to do a 3-Bedroom bungalow when all is set and ready to go.

  3. janet
    July 3, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I am interested in a 2 bedroom house, who can i talk to about the design of the house that i want.

  4. James
    January 11, 2015 at 10:59 am

    what’s the cost of constructing a 3 bedroom bungalow when I have 60 Eps panels ready. so am talking of labour, roofing, finishing and fittings

  5. paul kimathi
    February 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    6,200 is a lot of money for one panel. How big is it. This amount of money can buy almost a full lorry of building stones.
    Kindly let us know how cheap it is to build using these panels as compared to stones.

  6. joseph
    March 15, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    I want a four bed room house and i want it as a bungulow… where do i start…how many panels can do i need

    • May 12, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Hello kindly contact Kelvin of contractors and interiors for th best advice on the same

  7. joseph
    March 16, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I want a four bed room house and i want it as a mansion… where do i start…how many panels can do i need

  8. July 18, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Hi, I am interested in the OSB panels and I would like to know the size of the panels and their prices.

  9. Charles
    August 6, 2017 at 4:43 am

    Does require a strong foundation like the way we do in house of stones

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *