When Kenyans think about affordable housing, their go to is usually mabati housing. These are houses made from metallic roofing sheets. It is a material that is commonly available, affordable and can be easily integrated with other materials to construct houses. It is commonly used to construct units to let in informal housing or as a temporary structure for families looking to move out of rental units.
1. Material is cheap to acquire
2. Construction is fast
3. Can be constructed on a metallic or a wooden frame
4. Does not require highly specialised labour
5. Reasonably light hence transport is easy
6. Saves on internal painting and finishes
1. Being a good conductor of heat, it’s internal temperatures are usually a mirror of the external temperatures
2. The walls do not offer any sound protection
The pricing for these types of houses, everything included, can range from Kshs. 10,000 per sqm on the very low end and Kshs. 25,000 per sqm for the high end units fitted with insulation and more luxurious amenities.
How it is built:
For a standard house in an area with good soil, the common practice is to build a shallow strip foundation in masonry stones and backfill the area with suitable soil. Then a thin concrete slab, about 3 inches/75mm thick is poured on a damp proof membrane forming the floor. Some people then go ahead and build a course or two of masonry that will form the base for the walls. The frame that holds the mabati sheets is usually integrated at this point.
Once the frame is done, the mabati is then fixed on it to form the walls and the roof. Spacing for doors and windows are usually left open and are later filled with hinged doors attached to the frame. Services such as electricity and water are brought inside using pipes. In typical practice, no further insulation is provided. The roof – roofing sheets are usually located high, around 3 metres to reduce the heat felt from the radiating metal. Some people may choose to paint the outside a bright colour to reduce heat transmission though this is common.
How much does this go for? The going rate for this type of construction is about Kshs 6,000 per square metre. Most informal builders claim to be able to build this from between Kshs. 70,000 – 85000 for a 12 by 12 single unit. A family home, with 3 bedrooms will cost about Kshs. 600,000 to construct. Note that this rate is just for labour and materials and does not take into account the project management of the units. Insulation, ceilings and fancy roofing will cost you more than this. Difficult foundations may also increase the cost. Some of these costs may vary due to the changing economic times.
Read more to get information about alternative types of construction available in Kenya. Are you building in black cotton? Learn how to do it here. Are you looking for affordable two bedroom designs you can build for less than 1.5M?
Are you looking for a home construction consulting services? Unsure of where to begin? Reach out to Jenganami at: email@example.com.
I hope this piece has been useful, build wisely!