Construction stakeholders urged to adopt new construction methods to boost affordable housing

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 20: Real estate players in Kenya cannot meet the growing demand for houses for several reasons, including the lack of cost-effective construction methods and outdated technical solutions.

Heri Homes CEO Kimotho Kimani said adopting up-to-date methods such as aluminum formwork will help construction industry players meet the challenges.

The World Bank estimates that Kenya needs at least 2 million social housing units per year, but produces less than 50,000 units due to fundamental demand and supply side challenges.

Fast turnaround time

Kimani said technologies such as aluminum formwork, which is starting to rise in popularity in Kenya, have already helped shorten construction time in local projects.

“Using these kind of construction methods, construction companies can build an eight-story building in 8 months, compared to 24 months with the brick and mortar method,” he said.

“With such technology, homeowners would get their homes faster than they normally would,” he added.

Kimani, who is also president of the Legacy Ridges Ruiru project, believes that the government has created an enabling environment for the achievement of affordable housing by building roads, speeding up the issuance of property titles and giving rebates on the land tax. added value and reductions. on affordable housing for those who thrive.

South Korean company Kumkang Kind introduced the aluminum formwork solution in Kenya and already has several projects underway in the country and on the continent.

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Locally, the Korean company works with at least nine developers whose projects are spread across Kiambu, Eldoret and Nairobi.

KumKang Kind currently provides its solutions to Maisha Housing, Unity Homes, Ovid Construction and Urban Housing Renewal Development LLP.

Outside the Kenyan borders, KumKang Kind works with developers in Ethiopia, Ghana and Algeria.

Sam Muihia, Business Development Director of Kumkang Kind East Africa urged construction industry players to embrace new ways of building such as aluminum formwork.

According to Muihia, most Western countries have adopted building technology to provide affordable homes for their citizens.

“We cannot continue to use brick and mortar methods when technologies such as aluminum formwork have been available for over 40 years,” Muihia said.

Expensive construction methods

Commenting on the same, Bola Properties Managing Director Malei Nthiwa called for scaling up green solutions in Kenya to ease the burden on millions of Kenyans looking for affordable homes.

Citing a finding conducted by Bola Properties, Nthiwa said nine in ten Kenyans do not have a place to call home, although affordable housing is an ongoing program of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second and final term in office. head of state.

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The conclusion listed the lack of end-to-end technical solutions and the lack of profitable construction as the most significant challenges.

To alleviate these challenges, Nthiwa called for scaling up green solutions in Kenya to ease the burden on millions of Kenyans looking for affordable housing.

Market aggregation

At the same time, Nthiwa urged industry stakeholders to embrace market aggregation to boost the growth of affordable housing in Kenya.

He said that to have affordable homes, all stakeholders should be brought together under one roof.

“In any project, you need finance, you need technical experts, and you need legal and vendor support. Unless the entire ecosystem of people in the construction industry come together and deliberate on how to move this industry forward, affordable housing will be just a dream, ”Nthiwa said.

Bola Properties promotes affordable housing solutions including aluminum formwork, prestressed concrete, precast concrete technologies, and water and solar power solutions.

The experts spoke at an event that brought together players from the construction ecosystem to deliberate on providing affordable housing in Kenya.

The plan is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big 4 development program announced at the start of his second and final term as President.

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As part of this plan, the government is expected to build 500,000 units at low cost by the end of 2022.

They were speaking at an affordable housing solutions forum that brought together housing industry stakeholders at the Safari Park Hotel. They also discussed the mortgage markets and the role played by the National Construction Authority, cooperatives, Sacco and financial institutions in housing finance.

Affordable housing is one of the four main pillars of the Jubilee administration aimed at empowering Kenyans to own homes and housing and meeting the challenge of housing and living standards of Kenyans.

The Covid 19 pandemic had also presented its own economic challenge, with most Kenyans unable to continue investing in the housing plan. Since President Uhuru Kenyatta stepped out of dusk-to-dawn curfews across the country, the majority have been eagerly awaiting the rebound in the economy, and initiatives such as mortgage markets and stakeholder engagement. affordable housing is a good opportunity to speed up the housing program.