The fast-growing urban population in Kenya has led to a shortage of housing facilities for the middle and low-income population, with statistics showing that the country needs 250,000 housing units annually vs the 50,000 units constructed. This has resulted in a shortage of upto 200,000 units per year. An alternative to reducing this shortage as well as embracing technology in the real estate industry is the use of prefabricated housing.
Prefabricated homes, popularly known as ‘prefab’ homes are types of houses manufactured off-site in advance, in sections which are then transported and assembled. The home is built in a factory-like setting indoors, after which the final products are transported to the locations where they are assembled by the constructor. The technology is quickly being adopted in Kenya due to its ability to produce low-cost housing and reduce construction risks as compared to the traditional house design. An important question then would be why should a prefab house be your next project?
An advantage of using prefab housing over the traditional on-site housing is fast construction. The construction does not see the usual construction delays due to bad weather, and because the parts of a prefab home come pre-made, all that is required is assembling and hooking up the home to the needed utilities. Most prefabricated homes are said to take less than half the time required for a traditional home. The time saved usually comes from upfront planning, faster assembling of construction materials and absence of weather and scheduling delays. Koto Housing limited; a Malaysian firm with operations in Mlolongo Kenya announced in 2015 that it could build a 3 bedroomed prefab house in just 14 days!
Another advantage is cost reduction. Building a prefab home is less expensive than building the traditional on-site home. The savings come as a result of reduced labor as few workers on-site automatically means saving on construction costs. Reduced construction time also comes along way in cutting on the construction financing. Eco Homes Kenya in cooperation with Mabati Rolling Mills is focused on providing affordable prefab homes for low and middle-income earners. A regular three bedroom house is said to cost a buyer only 1.9 Million inclusive of VAT down from 3.6 Million.
On the other side, some of the disadvantages of prefabricated houses is that can be straining to arrange for transportation of pre-assembled materials and assembly site details. Also, depending on the person who builds your home, you could end up having a limited amount of design options resulting to inflexibility.
In conclusion, when deciding on a method of construction for your family home, remember due diligence is an important aspect of real estate investment; do a lot of research! Make sure you also have the right contractor, so that you don’t end up compromising on design in an effort to save up on cost.