Roofing in Kenya. 2015.

1.Looking at how the construction industry has evolved over the decades and seeing how people are now paying more detail to what is going to their structures, What, in your opinion would you say has been the evolution of roofing industries in the last decade or so? What has changed

New roofing materials such as stone coated steel roofing sheets, and asphalt shingles have come up into the Kenyan market in the last 10 years. Previously, iron sheet roofing, clay and concrete roofing tiles were the most dominant in Kenya. With liberalization of the Kenyan market, importation of these new roofing products has resulted in the roofing landscape changing to be dotted with these new types of roof products.
Also, people are becoming more sensitive to health issues, after reading alot of information on the internet, hence choosing healthier roofing products that can be used to harvest rain water for consumption.

2. We are seeing more developers and home owners moving away from just corrugated iron sheets to paying a lot pf attention to the kind of roof they erect. Why is this?
Developers now have a wider array of choice of roof products than before. There are many roofing products, each for every financial category and specific aesthetic appeal. These new roofing products come in various textures, shapes and colours. There are even imitations of thatch and wooden roofs made of stone coated steel.

3. Are there Pros and Cons when it comes to adopting this “new” roofing materials? If yes, what are they?

Yes. Cost comparison with other available roofing materials need to be checked. Also, whether the rain water can be harvested and consumed will also be a factor. Aesthetic appearance will also be an important determining factor, especially for developers who want their property to come out looking unique since the roof is a very visible element of a building.

4. What is the cost implication of style and individualism when it comes to roofs. Is it really worth the cost?

For developments that are in high income areas eg Karen , Runda and Muthaiga, it pays for the developer to use unique roofing systems. This way, the property value will be high, enabling the developer to unlock finance form banks based on the high value of their real estate development. Also, for hotels, malls, shops and other commercial enterprises that need to be attractive to impulse buyers/customers, a unique roof will go a long way to attract potential customers hence more business.

5.How should select a roofing material? What should they look out for?

Selecting a roofing material will depend on the intended use of the building. If its commercial, a more attractive, colorful roof will attract more customers. If the development is a residential house in an upmarket neighborhood, it will get higher value if a more attractive unique roof is constructed.
If the land is located in a low income area, a relatively low cost roof material can be used.

6. Do they have any disadvantages?

Some roof materials can not be used to harvest rain water for human consumption.
Some roof materials do not have a long lifespan.
Some roof materials are too expensive if budget is a constraint.
Some roof materials are too heavy hence making the roof supporting structure too heavy.

Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.


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