With many Kenyans choosing to build houses, residential and commercial homes, new innovations have come in handy, helping developers save time and money. This is also associated with a strong demand for affordable housing. Contractors have come up with alternative building methods to speed up the construction process as they are cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
Thin-Joint Masonry Technique
This construction technology replaces traditional 10mm cement mortar joints with 3mm adhesive mortar joints. ‘Gluing’ blocks together improve productivity while cutting building timelines. In addition, the cure of mortar takes place quickly without weakening the bonding power, resulting in the removal of the floating problem. It fastens block lying, weatherproofing and improves thermal mass and insulation. It also helps to minimize material waste – resulting in substantial cost savings.
Precast Flat Panel Modules/Cross-wall Construction
These are walls and floor components created by casting concrete in reusable mold or “form” made in a factory and then transported to the actual construction site for installation. The panels are manufactured to allow the installation of windows, doors and finishes.
It also involves the construction of envelope frames, which are supplied with insulation and decorative cladding that is fitted to the plant. This approach is ideally suited to routine building project tasks.
Prefabricated Housing Technology
Skeletons of houses are manufactured in a factory before being shipped to a building site where the entire frame can be assembled. The materials widely used in the construction of such homes in Kenya are extended polystyrene panels (EPS). It costs approximately Ksh 1,111 per square meter, including shipping costs and the expense of concrete plasterwork, compared to Ksh 1,550 for natural quarry stones. When it comes to building, the processing of materials using machines would save a lot of time, resulting in a quick rate of work.
Insulating concrete formwork (ICF) technique
Insulating concrete formwork (ICF) is a building technique that uses lightweight and hollow insulation forms that fit together like giant Lego parts to create a wall frame. The structure is then filled with high-quality concrete that cures the ICFs to become a high-strength structure with a remarkable sound and thermal insulation.
The ICF systems give considerable savings in terms of construction schedules and manpower, as well as the reduced need for skilled labour. They can be built in wet conditions that allow early waterproofing of houses.
Precast foundation technique
This is an off-site construction process in which foundations are pre-engineered and assembled in a factory before being transported to a site for installation.
The assembled base is primarily backed by concrete piles. Both systems are wired together during assembly. These foundation systems help increase efficiency, enhance quality and reduce the amount of soil excavation required.
As one of the most common forms of building technology, precast concrete construction allows construction to proceed even in bad weather, cutting project timelines while minimizing site disruption and total construction costs.
3D Volumetric Technology
The 3D volumetric construction includes the creation of 3D units in the form of off-site modules, which are then transported to the site and installed by module. Each modular unit generated is a 3D unit, therefore this construction is referred to as a 3D volumetric or modular construction.
The transport modules can be shipped as a simple structure or as a full unit with all the internal and external finishes, with the facilities mounted within it being the only remaining part of the assembly.