Truth to be told, most developers have construction dreams that are larger than what they can afford or are willing to spend. Follow these basic pointers and you will surely arrive at your construction dream and vision and use less money while at it.
- Stick to a plan
Imagine you are a soccer team and you train and plan well on formations of offence and defense particular to a team you are to clash with. On matchday, you go to the field and do your own things. What do you think will happen? Mtalimwa mlimike which is French meaning basically you will be cultivated and bring forth offsides, own goals, red cards and zero shots at goal, meaning the other team technically did not need a goalkeeper. When you plan with your architect, take time. Plan, pre-envision room sizes etc. that will cumulatively give you a rough idea what your budget will be. When you get to site, stick to your plan. Failure to which, Pandora’s box shall be opened.
- Avoid marketing gimmicks
You have all heard how ‘this new technology’ will ‘save your building costs up to 30%’ among many other fables. There seems to be a Kenyan gene of loving to be conned. It is so entrenched in our system that we love to jump at every ‘too good to be true’ deal, we get conned and complain thereafter. We have also been lied to that ‘construction in Kenya is VERY EXPENSIVE’. That is a complete urban legend. It will shock you that there is NO AFRICAN CAPITAL CITY with cheaper walling than Nairobi. Yes, imagine. We must stop believing what every ‘jerk’ (not Jack) of all trades has to say.
- Plumbing Engineer
We have mentioned it before, at least 80% of new construction projects have plumbing issues. We won’t belabor this point. Ensure you have a Plumbing Engineer THROUGHOUT your construction project. Otherwise, you will join the quiet sufferers who will never admit their mistakes as they chota water from their socket za stima.
- Go through your Bills of Quantities line by line
An old African saying goes; if you want to take a shower properly, or solve a safari-ant attack on your body, the first step is to remove all your clothes. Going through a bill of quantities can be uncomfortable as removing clothes to chill in your birthday suit since most of us don’t have beach bodies; but as a developer, you must understand what is in those lines and descriptions. Most disputes come about because the developer/home builder was unaware of SPECIFICATION in the contract they got into. Going through it with your quantity Surveyor will also act as a second point to see where extra savings can be made.
- Efficient design to make your development smaller
Finally, the surest way to use less money, is to make your development smaller. Cancer is the big talk in the country sadly because a few prominent members of our society have succumbed to this, but the biggest cancer in the construction industry is to have a larger house. The larger the floor area, the ‘fatter’ the chuma/steel bars, the more the concrete, the thicker the slabs, the deeper the beams, the more the roofing and flooring tiles, the more the doors, the larger the windows, the longer the cables, the more the lighting, the more the darkness that even ferocious Rottweiler dogs are so scared they have to hold hands and sing that wedding song ‘Wawili kwa wawili ey, aeh.. o mundu na murata weh! Please don’t build a monster and tell us how you want to cut on costs.