Diaspora, this is What You Need Before Constructing in Kenya
I am assuming that you have a 50 by 100 piece of land in Kitengela or wherever else you want to build rental houses. I am also assuming that the said land has a good title deed, that it is not a grabbed public school land.
If it is clean land and you have identified that you need to build rentals, then set aside the next three to five years for a roller-coaster ride that is building in Jamhuri. It will be the most tasking undertaking you will have done in your life.
So get yourself a good support system and tough shock absorbers. For it is not a walk in the park to complete a building project.
First things first. Get yourself a good and reputable architect. This person will be your best friend during the entire project. Number two, get for yourself a good project manager, and keep away from your dear brother or your sister. You will thank me later.
If you cannot be at home to meet one on one with professionals before you begin your building project, then trust your people on the ground and bag for yourself the faith of a Beduin.
You must meet with the professionals that will be responsible for your project and exchange ideas. Also, you will get to know what you are getting yourself into. I know of guys whocollapse at the end of a building project due to the physical and emotional toll it takes on the investor.
After sitting with the architect and going through your vision. The three of you, including the project manager must visit the land in question. Come with the map of the area where you are intending to build.
Make sure that if it is an undeveloped area, that you are sure that you have identified your plot. Ama hujasikia watu wanajenga ploti za wenyewe?
The visit to the site with the architect is so important. He will see how the land is oriented, where the roads are, the type of soil, and so on.
It is also at that time you will get to know the exact measurements of your plot. The architect will have come with the Futi Kamba to take measurements.
The architect will go back to his office and come up with the drawings. Depending on the number of floors, be ready with over Ksh 60,000 for the architect. That figure is on the lowest side.
After the architect does his thing, he will forward the drawings to a structural engineer, this one will come up with all the structural drawings. This includes the type and size of chumas that will be needed for the entire building.
Some investors get this structural drawing and decide that chuma size 16 is expensive and substitute them with size 12. If you do this, you will only blame yourself when at fourth floor, the whole house comes tumbling down, killing your fundis, and the beginning of your miserable life after that.
The structural engineer will also get his cut of kedo 40-60 thou. He is a professional, so don’t start cursing.
The next step is taking the two drawings to a Quantity Surveyor. This guy will go to the ground and do some complicated mathematics and come up with what they call Bill of Quantities. It is good guestimate of the cost of the whole project, itemized. The booklet he produces will set you like 20-50K back.
Your Architect will have connections with the Structural Engineer and Quantity Surveyor, some of them operate in the same office. Therefore, your bill will come at once.
Having ensured that all the documents you have are signed and stamped by the three professionals, you will begin visiting government and county offices.
Now, this is the time you will are likely to lose it. When you read and hear that there is inept, bureaucratic, and corrupt system in Jamhuri, you will come face to face with this demons in the said offices.
I do not remember how many government offices you will visit to get the necessary stamps and approvals. They are so many and in different places depending on your county.
Suffice to say, you will visit the County offices, lands offices, Public Health offices, NEMA offices, NCA offices. In each of them, you will pay this and that. You will get receipts on some payments, and in others, do not ask for one. Ni chai ya wazee.
Your architect and project manager will know which offices to visit and how much it is likely to cost and how long it will take for this stage to end.
However, the whole exercise of getting the right approvals and stamps may set you back up to 250K. Na bado hujaanza kujenga!
After you get all the approvals and stamps, the most challenging and financially demanding phase of your life begins.
Take it easy. Rome was not built in a day. Do not yell at people because a whole Ksh 1.5 million has been buried underground in the foundation. Do not fret when fundis make a blunder and whole walls are ordered brought down by the architect.
Do not miss a heartbeat when you realize that $100,000.00 later, your structure is far, far from complete.
By Mzee Moja