Building a house for you and your family will not be an easy fete. You will sweat. You will be frustrated. There are times when you will be forced to get rid of everyone on the site and bring in new people. Sometimes you will be called about a shortage of material right in the middle of the day. You will constantly fear that something is not being done right. You will worry about the possibility of fatal shortcuts. Below are factors to ensure that your construction project is as painless as possible.

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Everyone dreams of their future house. However, you will need a particular skill to actually put that dream on paper and bring it to fruition. You will need someone to draw up a plan for your house. You should have this professionally done. This is not a part of the project that you can compromise on. You might have your ideas but you need an expert to help you ensure that the plan is feasible. They say that an architect’s dream is an engineer’s nightmare. So you might also want to consult an engineer.


You should take the time to think about what you want in a dream house. Make a list of needs and wants for your house. How many floors do you need? How big should this house be? How many bedrooms? What size should the rooms be? Do you want high ceilings? Do you want an open plan kitchen? You should put a lot of thought into this. If you need to make changes later, it might be difficult especially if it involves structural editing. It is okay to leave some spaces open to change later. For example, the verandah may have the potential to be a den in the future. Most of these specs will be determined by your own preferences, how much money you have, the number of occupants as well as how much space you have to build.


Every project needs a budget. Without one, you will overspend for sure. Your budget will be informed by the projected cost of materials. You should have a contractor help you out with a bill of quantities so that you can do your research on prices. While you are looking around you will also be able to find the best qualities and the most affordable places. Keep in mind that bulk buying will be more affordable in terms of discounts and carriage. Compare all the prices but use the highest to make the budget for the purpose of prudence. Add a bit of a margin of error to the prices though. This will take care of any sudden increases in price or material wastage. You should also add cost for the labor and miscellaneous items like lunch for the masons or just drinking water.

It is advisable to have at least three-quarters of the money needed as you start. If not, you should have a foolproof financing plan. You could decide to put half of your salary in an account for the project every month. It is also important to have a contingency for your project financing plan. Figuring out the money part will ensure that your project does not stagnate.


In how long will you want to move into your house? If the time is stringent then you might want to go for a less complex design. If you do not have time then you might also go for a smaller and less complex house.


Do you have land already? Is it big enough to hold the kind of house you want to build? Will you have enough compound to work with? If you do not have land then you will need to buy one. The Kenyan way is to ask your friends to recommend brokers and agents who will help you find and buy land. Just make sure it is the right size for the house you need and in the right place too. It should be within the budget. It should also be easy enough to connect the property to systems like power and water. For a home, you do not want land that is too out of the beaten path. You need neighbors. You need amenities like schools for your children and ease of commute to your workplace.


Your list of materials should be conclusive. This is why you need the bill of quantities from a professional contractor. It should be detailed down t how much water you need for the project to stones and even fixtures like taps and wall tiles. You should look for the prices beforehand. For example, you might discover that it will be cheaper to buy wall and floor tiles at Kyang’ombe off Mombasa Road or Tile Centre in downtown CBD than at Tile & Carpet or some fancy shop. You should also figure out storage for the materials. You do not want the sand to be eroded by rain or the timber to rot. You might also decide to but the materials in stages to prevent wastage and loss or theft.


The foundation will need digging. You will need someone to supervise everyone. You will need someone to coordinate activities. The point is, you will employ up to 30 people depending on the size and timeline of the project. You should make sure to only employ people with proper experience. If you employ people who have never handled that kind of work then you will experience a lot of wastage and possibly even injuries. The worst-case scenario is the building collapses after it has been inhabited. There could also be quite a bit of turnover. Turnover interrupts the work and delays everything.


Speaking of supervision, it is very important on a construction site. There will be many people performing very intensive tasks and maybe even with different approaches to the work. There needs to be an authority who will check on things when you are away at work. However, this does not absolve you of your own responsibility. You still need to show up and get status reports as often as possible. Feel free to show up at the end of every day even for a few minutes. It keeps everyone on their toes. It also makes it harder for any dishonest members of the crew to sneak some materials out. If you are a bit too busy, you could get someone you trust implicitly to step in for you when you cannot.

Legal requirements

If you pick a construction company, you must ensure that the engagement contract is just right. Read it cover to cover to ensure that you will not be screwed in case things do not go well. If you are at it alone though, ensure to get the permits. You will need a construction permit from City Hall. Your project will also be inspected occasionally to ensure that it is being built up to code and that the workers on the site are safe. Before starting the project though, ensure to do a search on the land just to confirm that it really is in your name. Can you imagine pouring millions only for there to be ownership wrangles down the road?


The construction site will be a dangerous place. There is a risk of heavy things falling. There is a risk of tripping. There is a risk of electrocution. The people working on your site will be exposed to so much danger. You need to have a plan in place in case of injury. Make sure to provide protective gear so that in case of an accident injury will be minimal. If anyone is hurt on your site, you will be responsible for their treatment. You might want to set aside a small portion of your budget for this so that you are financially prepared in case of anything. Make sure to reiterate the importance of safety on the site and encourage everyone to observe safety measures.


If you want a power connection on your site, you will need to start the process early in advance. There are people who move into their homes and go for ages without being connected to the grid. If you start early, there will be power when welding time comes or the workers want to work into the night. The same applies to water. You must figure out how to have the utility connections done as soon as you start the project. This way, the house will be built with allowances for wiring and plumbing. Many people bore through holes after the construction has been done to install wiring and plumbing. Do this before the plaster and paint just to maintain an aesthetic appeal and prevent too much work.


As you pay attention to the building itself, also think about landscaping. What kind of compound would you like to have? Make arrangements for the installation of the landscaping as soon as the compound is free from sand and stray building materials.

Surviving your building project is more than just having the money and willingness to do it. You need to pay attention to the above so that it is a degree less painful than it usually would be. Happy building!