Four steps to kick-start your construction project in kenya

To  start  a building construction project ,the client need to  formulate the project idea based on the  level of funding he or she  has or can obtain from a lending institution.Once the   project idea  has crystallized and is  feasible , the client  will need  to walk through four steps to get his or her project off the ground .The  four steps  are:

  1. Engage  the design team
  2. Get approvals from County government
  3. Engage  the construction team
  4. Prepare the site.

1.Engage the devices  of the design team

This  team ,depending  on the size and complexity of the project will  comprise the Architect,Structural engineer,Quantity  surveyor  and  clerk of  works.

Embed from Getty Images

The Architect will design the building  based on your  formulated  project idea  and  deliver   the building design drawings (see image above).The  structural engineer  will be called in ,if the stress and load  of building   are greater than that  which  may be  expected  to be exerted  by a simple normal house.The engineer  will calculate the weights of the construction material,people and equipment that will be  housed in the building and  the maximum wind force on building .These  calculation are then used by the engineer to design the foundation,columns and beams, suspended  floors  and other  structural   parts  of the  building.The  design drawings from the  Architect and the Structural engineer  may include the following:

  • Exhibit A that will have Floor plan, Elevation plan, XX-section plan, and Roof plan.
  • Exhibit B that will have a  Septic Tank  plan/drainage  plan
  • Exhibit C that will have  Foundation layout, Column bases with  steel  details, Slab  with steel  details, and  Beams  details (specification according  to  project /structural  Engineer).

The three drawing will have Architect, Struactural/Project  engineer and Client information with  their  signatures  appended   thereto.

The  drawing  should take  less than one week for   a residential  house  and  about  once  month  for  complex  commercial  buildings. Most  Architects  employ   computer  aided  design in their  work ,making  it  possible  to  speed up  their   work  rate  and  deliver  the  drawing  within agreed  timelines .

The quantity  surveyor being apart  of the design team ,prepares the  bill of materials that  is  consumed  by  the main contractor  when pricing the work at hand. He or she will determine the size of areas and the quantities  of materials needed based on the  building design drawings.

Last but not least  the Clerk of  works is  also engaged  for large scale  building constructions projects   like malls and her or his work involves  supervising the Contractors   to ensure sound  building practices   are  employed and the   work progresses  according to schedule.

2.Get approvals from County government 

All building construction design  drawings by the Architect and Structural engineer  must be  submitted to  the County government Physical planning office  for approval. This  is  to  ensure  structurally sound buildings  that  conform to (NCA)  National Construction Authority’s minimum standards   specifications and  land  use  .It also ensure there is  controlled  and  well planned  development.The approval  is meant to confirm that the building design, layout, construction method given the nature of the  soil/ground  , sewer  system plans and access road   are  acceptable and meet  minimum  standards of  sound building practices.

After the drawings have sailed through the approval process   ,the client  is  required to  pay the  approval fees and receive IFMIS receipt. Then  the Physical  planning  engineer, and  public health officers  signs  and stamps on the  drawings. This should take one week.

The NEMA (National Environmental Management Authority)  stamp of approval and  levies  has  been  revoked  by  the National  government  and is  no longer  needed.Also  the National  Construction Authority(NCA) levies  have  been scraped off. Scrapping of these  fees was  a calculated move  to encourage the private sector  to invest more in  building and  construction  sub-sector  to meet the  high  demand  for housing in the country in the face shortfall in supply.

3.Engage the  contraction team

This  comprise the people  who  do the work at a building construction site.Depending on the project complexity and size these people will include Main contractors,Sub-contractors,Estimator,Surveyor,Contractor  supervisors,Site agent,General  foreman,Trades foreman,Trades  people  ,Apprentices and  Laborers.

Embed from Getty Images

Contractors are directly  responsible  for  commencing the    building  construction project  and  working with  all  professional  involved  to get  all  necceassy  work  activities done  on time and within budgets   and  hand over the Building  to  owners  when all  work  is  finished.The contractor  is  also  answerable   on all health  and safety   issues  that may  arise  at  a construction site.Compensation for the Contractor  may come in the form of a signed  contract for services rendered based on the cost of the  building construction project. Alternatively  the client and contractor may agree on  daily  service costing-in which case  the client is required to pay the contractor  for  each day’s work in the evening at  an agreed  rate.

The estimator  works on behalf of the main contractor and calculates   the cost  of the  project  based on the bill of material  prepared  by the Quantity surveyor.This  is used by the contractor  as tender  document  and   is   delivered  to the client.

The surveyor  work involves  laying out the  shape  of the building   on the ground  before  the  actual construction starts.This  ensure  that the  rooms, drive way  and so on are located  in the right places on the site.

Trades  people  are  skilled  personnel  and may include, Masons,bricklayers, Carpenters  ,Plumbers and  Electrical  works  technicians.

Last  but  not least we have  laborers  among  the construction team and are used  at the construction site to do  work that does  not need  special  skills.

The  trades  people and laborers  are hired  by the contractor  and carry out their duties   under direction of  experienced  foremen.The  working  time  for  the contractor and  his crew  is  from 7:00am to  5:00pm with one  hour  lunch  break  .

4.Prepare the site

This is the last step and involves first, removal of  vegetation on  the  sites  and  fencing   it  off using barbed wire  or  second hand corrugated  iron sheets.

Second build a makeshift project  office.This  should  have  at least three rooms, to   provide working space for the  contractors and  other professional  on the site , a space  for safe keeping  of  work in process and unused materials and  space  for the site ‘s around the clock  security  personnel.

Finally  remove  the  top soil   from the sites because  it contain organic matter  that make it unsuitable for  supporting  the  building’s  foundation.This  should  be  stored  somewhere  for  use in landscaping  latter  or  transported  elsewhere  for disposal.Once this is  done  you  are  ready to  begin laying  the  foundation for  your  building construction project.

©Copyright 2016



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.