Tips to Save Millions When Constructing a House

  • A house under construction
    A house under construction
  •  A common dream among most Kenyans is to build a house of their own. Unfortunately, costs, planning and scarce information make this dream unachievable.

    However, engineer Monda Makori breaks down a few tips that anyone who wishes to construct a house easily can put into consideration. 

    The expert advises that to easily be a homeowner (Paused here), It's advisable to take into account the pre-planning process before one decides to spend any money on constructing a house. This, according to experts will help you know how much you should spend. Additionally, you will know if you are over budget and cut down on costs.

    Eng. Makori stated that getting an architect to help with drawing up plans and getting a breakdown of the costs that the whole project will spend. 

    An undated photo of a house under construction

    He pointed out that this process saves people the headache of having to fork out unreasonable amounts of money as the construction work is underway.

    "Make sure you have a full set of detailed drawings and if possible also obtain the Bills of Quantities (BOQ). A BOQ is a breakdown of the materials, costs and labour for your project based on average market rates," the Engineer stated.

    "If you do not have a BOQ you can request a cost breakdown from your contractor which will let you set aside funds for each stage of the project," he added.

    Most people who rely on their salaries to fund such projects are advised to make sure they know how much they are willing to spend each month.

    Ensure you break down construction into sections and have budget allocations for each module of the construction. "... you do not want to run out of money when you have only put on half the roof as the timber trusses will get affected by rain."

    "Your BOQ or cost breakdown should contain at least the following components; foundations, frame and walls including first electrical and plumbing fix, roof, doors and windows (including burglar bars or other security measures), finishing and decorating (plastering, painting, tiling etc)," he stated.

    Eng. Makori also advised people who want to embark on this journey to undertake a linear approach meaning you concentrate on one item at a time during the construction period. When you complete one process you move on to the next step of the construction.

    "A linear approach means you deal with one item at a time as much as possible. For example, avoid installing windows while you are laying pavers for the parking area. It is better to wait with laying pavers rather than running out of money halfway through and having both the paving work and the windows installation stop work halfway through because funds ran out," he stated.

    Take extra precautions on the building materials to avoid spending extra. Experts note that it is very possible for tools to go missing from the construction site if the project takes too long. It's advisable to build a strong place to keep all the equipment.

    Ensure you visit the site regularly even if construction is not ongoing and check on the safety of the construction site and the tools that are being used.

    The Engineer also pointed out that it's important to live within your means as you undertake this project adding that a substantial amount of resources will go into this project. 

    "So, from early on, start living cheap. Forget that length of holiday travels, eating out every day or buying new clothes. You will find a better use for the money by investing it in your dream home," he stated.

    Builders are unable to resist cheaper construction materials. Experts warn that counterfeits could cost you more than just loss of money. 

    If your house collapsed, for instance, you will lose not only your investment, but people may die in the process.

    A worker leans on an incomplete building at the fruit processing under construction in Kwale County
    A worker stands next to an incomplete building at the fruit processing under construction in Kwale County.