Let’s begin by agreeing with Abraham Maslow who said, in my own words, that you and I should be interested in building construction because it’s output is housing, which according to him is happens to be a basic human need.And decent housing(shelter) does not come cheap especially when you lack the right information.Which is why,I dare say, hitting regularly this site , is time well spent .
That said, let’s begin our profitable adventure. The built environment has experienced a lot of changes especially in last few decades. Building construction practitioners today use different designs, plans, materials and techniques than those that were used by their counterparts in the past. These changes has come about because of (a)Rapid advances in building technology and (b)the social pressures upon the realization of the connection between poor housing and health.As a result we now have the Kenya building code 1997 and National construction authority (NCA) that specifies minimum building construction standards that must be followed by contractors.In broad terms the requirements deal with the need for the following:
- Buildings that do not pose a risk of collapsing on occupants.
- Adequate sanitation
- Adequate water supply
- Freedom from damp
- Adequate natural light
- Adequate ventilation.
Before you or your tenants can be allowed occupy your new building, the contractor working closely with Architect,structural engineers and trades professionals have to work on and complete the following distinct parts:Foundation,Load bearing walling,ground floors,upper floors,roofing,partitioning,Plastering, External rendering/Finishing,Plumbing and Electrical installations.
On other hand those professionals who get involved when the construction is finished are housing managers,planners,environmental health officers, surveyors and estate agents.
All these professionals and the work they carry out with great workmanship depend on supplies of building materials from hardware stores , Timber yards,Welding workshops / metal fabricators and many other specialist shops.
To finish off, let me unpack a few of the specialist shops that provide important building materials .
A Hardware is shop that stock and sells “hardware”. A stock of hardware can consist of either household items or a builders items. Household hardware items refer to equipment that can be held in the hand like Washers, keys, locks and latches. It’s also include plumbing supplies like taps, electrical supplies like sockets and wires, as well as Machines(parts) like a wheelbarrows .
A builder hardware items are equipment that support buildings and make them habitable. Example are kitchen fixtures & fittings, bathroom fixture & fittings, doors, safety and security gadgets e.g. Smoke detector and window guards, cabinets, windows and curtains.
These are shops that sell timber and other wood products to contractors and carpenters. It is an interesting fact that , a good number of Timber yards evolve over time into full service hardware stores.
These shops are metal fabricators that make and sell doors, windows, gates and locks. They use Iron, aluminum, copper and steel to make these products.
Other merchants worth mentioning are ,Painters-who paint building, Electrical supplies shops and Glazers who make and repair glass windows and doors.