Comparison of cost of walling of Earthbag vs Iron sheets vs Hand dressed stone vs Machine cut stone in Kenya.

Earthbag walling.

Cost of soil excavation per m2. KES 50.
Cost of bags per m2. KES 200
Cost of labour Per m2 KES 100
Cost of plaster both sides per m2 KES 300
Total= KES 650 Per m2.

Rental income is high, same as stone house due to good internal temperature regulation, security and aesthetic appearance.

Iron sheet mabati gauge 32.

Cost of iron sheet per m2 KES 300

Cost of 2 x2 inch timber support per m2 KES 200

Cost of labour KES 100

Total=KES 600.

Rental income is low due to poor internal temperature regulation, poor security and appearance associated with low cost houses.

Hand dressed stone.

Stone per m2 KES 600
Labour KES 100
Plaster 1 side KES 200
Total KES 900.

Cost of foundation structural support is high.
Cost of plaster is high.

Machine cut stone.

Stone per m2 KES 800
Labour KES 100

Plaster 1 side KES 150
Total=KES 1050.

Cost of foundation is high. Permanent structure means high local authority council approval fees. Not easy to dismantle after lease expires on leased lands options.
Ability to attract premium rents due to high security, weather temperature control and good aesthetics.

Arch. Francis Gichuhi Kamau. (337 Posts)

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


  3 comments for “Comparison of cost of walling of Earthbag vs Iron sheets vs Hand dressed stone vs Machine cut stone in Kenya.

  1. Roberto
    November 5, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Sorry dude, I follow your blog since a while and I found it very interesting but I’ve been building with earthbags since more than 4 years now and It seems to me that your numbers are not correct:
    I’ve done a superadobe building near Homa Bay, nearly 65 sqm with a Dome structure (means no need for roof).
    You’ve not included cost of mix to put into the bags ( you need stabilizer for the soil in Kenya weather ), you have not included cost of roofing, no cost of windows and doors, no electric installation and no plumbing etc…
    For a good earthbag structure square in shape you still need foundations (less expensive ones) and some reinforcement to provide lateral stiffness stability (this is a standard for earthbags houses all around the world).
    I’m telling this because in the long term and without these precaution an earthbag structure can fail and I don’t want this to happen as it’s too an interesting technique.

    • November 7, 2014 at 7:07 am

      @roberto, the article is discussing only 1 element i.e walling, and not the other building elements such as roof, foundations, doors and windows, finishes etc. This is a comparison of the walling component of a building between several walling methods available in Kenya. In dome structures, reinforcement is needed but in straight vertical wall with roof cover and overhang structures, construction methodology is much simpler since the bags are protected from elements of weather and they also have inherent vertical support from self weight.

  2. Graduate QS Chege
    March 7, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Hi. I love some of the articles you have prepared and i would like to take you particulary on the cost of walling using different materials. I am in the near future going to join the list of registered Qs’s in kenya. Its of my opinion that it would be good to inform your followers that the said prices are when the clients undertakes the works himself since no profits and overheads has been feaatured in the price buildup.

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