Built Evinronment – 101 

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 .

Hardware  stores

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.

Timber Yard

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.

Wielding workshops

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.


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