Low cost construction for Student Hostels in Kenya. A4architect.

Student hostels are a profitable method of investing in Kenyan real estate. In towns like Ongata Rongai, where there is proximity to Multimedia University, Catholic University, Adventist University and Nazarene University, demand for student hostel is quite high . The hostels charge around kes 10,000 per person, sharing a single room with 2 or 3 others. This includes breakfast and Supper. Assuming 50% profit per person, this works out to kes 10,000 to kes 20,000 per month from a single room. This is a better return compared to renting the single room as a bedsitter.

Attracting students.
Investors need to create systems that are friendly to students such as christian themes eg FANUSI hostel near University of Nairobi Main campus and Flora girls Hostel in upper hill.

YMCA and YWCA are also another god example of hostels with a christian theme. Strict discipline and adherence to set rules and christian morals will go a long way to give parents the confidence that their children will be housed in a sober manner.

Construction costs.

For high rise structures which are several storeys high, construction cost will be same as for normal buildings/apartments at between kes 25,000 per m2 to kes 45,000 per m2.
For low rise structures, since they don carry much weight, low cost construction methods such as stabilised sol blocks, earth bag walled buildings will go a long way in educing the construction costs to around kes 15,000 per m2 .
Shared ablution blocks will also ensure lower costs of construction.
Prefabricated buildings also come in handy. Use of light steel structures with prefab wall infill can allow for 2 or 3 storey height buildings.

In China , there are many 2 or 3 storeyed prefabricated buildings . Such can also be introduced to Kenya.
The cost per m2 is slightly less than using the usual stone and concrete hence not very much in demand. One Juja quarries dry up, this will become a common feature of Kenyan construction landscape.

Earth bag buildings.
These are good for low rise single storey buildings. The cost per m2 is very low. The disadvantage is that in small plots, he walls take up to much space due to their 400mm wide thickness, compared to the usual stone walls of 200mm width.

Earthbag buildings have an advantage of low cost foundations.

Check out the hardcore surface in the picture below. The ease of foundation, walling, openings make earth bag buildings construction cost quite low.

The walls are then plastered with cement to give an aesthetically appealing look , both internally and externally.



Use of earthbag walls and timber poles for roof trusses will go a long way in reducing construction cost.

Barbed wire is used to hold the bags together as shown below.

This below is a student hostel in Nepal made using earthbags. Salleri girls hostel.

The earthbag wall plaster can also be profiled to flow with the bag shapes as below.

Using spray plaster machine will enable such a shape.

Arch. Francis Gichuhi Kamau. (337 Posts)

Architect Francis Gichuhi . B.Arch. University of Nairobi. Registered Architect, Kenya. Member, Architectural Association of Kenya. Contacts. email info@a4architect.com. Telephone +254721410684


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