The toughest question we get is when we are expected to give a ‘guesstimate’ of the cost of a house. We can be at home on a loose Saturday afternoon washing down some choma with soup-of-engine when we get a call from an old buddy ‘Nyumba kama ile ya Justin Bieber inaweza kuwa how much nikijenga na interlocking blocks?’ We are also expected to know a client’s perception of big and small, know the status of their bank account, decide what they deem as high- or low-end finishes, among many other perils.

Over the weekend, we received an enquiry on what is the lowest cost one can achieve for a two-bedroom house, and the house ‘shouldn’t be boring’- Tough one.

So, in our quest for getting an ‘interesting’ house, we drafted a two-bedroom house and fitted it in 52 M2. From our personal experience of the last 12 months, and to the standard of which we approved, the lowest we have achieved in a bungalow is 39,750/= per square meter. Basic finishes though. So, we can quantitatively conclude that one can build a basic 2bedroom house for 2,067,000.

Cost of building a 2 bedroom house in a 40 foot container

Dimensions of a container 2.4 x12.2 x 2.6/2.9 (We will use 2.6 so as to reduce the cost)

Floor area of a container 2.4M x 12.2M = Area of our 2 bedroom house will be= 29.28M2

I have designed this 2 bedroom house in a container

Price of container = 270,000 (I have placed a few links below, if anyone has a cheaper place, lets do the friendly thing and help each other) 335k

– 280k…/Containers+20Ft+And+40Ft/sd7c32 – 340K…/office-and-commercial-…/q-container/ -280k

Gypsum finish for all interior surfaces (apart from floor) @ 3,000 per sqm x 104 sqm= 312,000/=

Assume 9 square metres of windows @9,000 per square metre= 81,000/=

Floor finish + preparation+ block board decking @ 3,000 per sqm= 87,840/=

Foundation-Columns and ground beam for 29.28 sqm= give a ‘ball pack figure’ of 100,000/=

Paint in and out 167M2 x 300 per sqm= approx. 50,000/=

Wiring, piping, toilet, wash hand basin, shower cubicle= 100,000/=

Kitchen fit out= 30,000/=

Glasswool insulation (to be placed in between container body and gypsum) @ 650 psqm= 67,600

Repairs or protective measures on container (like waterproofing to top area+ corners) = 30,000/=

Total cost= 1,158,440

Cost to build per square metre is roughly 39,564

This does not include a septic tank or water tanks.