Some people often wonder how there’s always a pile of bricks and a mound of unused soil immediately after a house has been constructed. How do all those bits and pieces go to waste? The answer is simple; the contractors and the builders have no idea how to estimate the actual amount of materials that they plan to use.
When building a house, a lot of thought goes into the size and scope of the structure. You obviously can’t make a house out of thin air so building materials will always take precedence over time and effort. However, the number of bricks, the pillars of wood and the volume of cement used is always an estimate. There is no definitive number when it comes to construction.
In some cases, the building materials are insufficient. Sometimes, the pieces get damaged. A brick may get crushed by a moving vehicle or a construction worker may spill cement from an unstable wheelbarrow. All these things are bound to happen (see Murphy’s Law). So why not invest in a prefabricated house?
Prefab houses or modular homes, as they are popularly known, are structures that can be assembled piece by piece based on specifications set in place by architects working in line with home-owners and property developers. These structures function like a jig-saw puzzle, where the pieces are interconnected. They just need to be put together and reinforced.
One of the best things about prefab housing is that all the pieces are accounted for. Below are just a few of the many advantages of choosing modular housing:
It is cheaper than building. Unlike, normal housing, the construction process does not require a large group of builders. This cuts down the cost of labour. On top of this, contractors know exactly how much building materials will be used. This saves money which would otherwise be wasted on excess materials.
A4 Architect, one of Kenya’s Real Estate developers, reports that prefab housing can cost 32% less than actual construction. This means that constructing a 4 bedroon house in Kilimani, would rack up expenses of up to KES 20 million. Prefab housing in the same area would cost about KES 13.6 million. On top of this, most developers use locally-available parts for construction. A4 Architect’s Diamond House plan uses building materials found in most hardware stores across the country.
It saves time. Prefab houses can be made in a short span of time, depending on the home-owner’s specifications. A 4 bedroom modular home can take about a week to put together once all the plans have been made. Construction for a regular 4-bedroom house could last as long as 3 months given the fact that just waiting for foundation slabs to dry takes at least 21 days.
What’s more, the foundation can be prepared long before the house is put in place. The only thing a home owner has to worry about is the plot of land on which to build.
Choosing Your Own Design
Even after construction, prefab houses can be customized. According to an article by Excel Homes, the largest modular home manufacture in the United States’ East Coast, prefab houses can be adjusted to suit the home-owner’s needs. The same thing applies to local developers. It is simpler to add or remove parts in a modular home than it is for regular stone houses.
In a prefab structure, windows can be moved or replaced. Unlike regular housing, the walls can also be expanded or pulled apart whenever there is a need to do so. Rooms can even be shifted around as long as the home-owner is willing to fork out a little more cash.
Local prefab housing developers include Eco Houses Limited, Jamii Bora as well as A4 Architects among others.