The cost of construction in Kenya has steadily been on the rise due to various reasons as below.
Cost of Labour.
With the high cost of living, cost of labour has gone up . 10 yeas ago, a skilled labourer Fundi got paid kes 400 per day while an unskilled labourer mtu wa mkono got paid kes 200 per day. Now skilled labourer fundis get paid a minimum of kes 1000 per day and skilled labourer fundis dealing with carpentry works ask for a minimum of kes 1,500 per day. Unskilled labourers watu wa mkono now get paid kes 500 per day. This represents around 27% annual increase in labour costs.
Kenya’s inflation rate is reported at around 10% per annum but the situation on the ground in terms of construction labour costs is much higher at 27%.
Most earnings have not increased in the same rate, hence Kenyans having to dig deeper to construct as time goes by.
Prefabrication helps to resolve this since prefabricated houses are easy to bolt and screw together, hence reducing labour costs.
Cost of Sand,Ballast and Stone.
Cost of sand has increased steeply over the years after Counties that are the main sources of sand, namely Machakos and Kajiado counties, raised fees and levies to sand harvesting. National Environment Management Agency has also come in to reign on sand harvesting which causes serious damage to the environment, especially river banks. This has resulted in less sand available hence higher costs.
A ton of sand costed kes 1000 5 years ago. It now costs kes 2000. This represents an average of 20% per annum increase. Same applies to ballast.
A 200mm thick quarry stone costed kes 40 per block delivered around Nairobi 2 years ago. It now costs kes 60 for the same. This represents 25% increase per year.
With the above calculations, its safe to bet that the price of construction materials and labour will increase by 25 to 30% every year.
With the capping on the maximum tonnage that a lorry can carry from the Juja stone quarries along Thika superhighways, lorries are carrying less tonnage, passing the cost on to consumers, hence making the cost of stone go high.
Also, availability of land for stone quarries is also fast decreasing as people use the land to build their own homes, hence making stone scarce and more expensive.
Steel prefabricated housing.
Using steel panels to construct is thus a very good alternative to the usual stone construction since steel prefabricated panel houses come at a much lower cost than stone housing and offer the same comfort.
Steel prefab panels are available in kenya at www.a4architect.com. For sales inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Francis Gichuhi kamau. B.Arch. U.o.N. M.A.A.K[A]