Prefabrication entails assembling components of a structure and manufacturing them under factory conditions then transporting complete assemblies or sub-assemblies to the construction site for incorporation. In the construction industry, the term prefabrication is used to distinguish this process from the conventional building practice of transporting the basic materials to the construction site where all assembly is carried out.
Prefabricated homes also commonly known as prefab are houses designed with technologies that see skeletons of houses made in a factory before they are shipped to the construction frame. The entire frame of the houses is usually assembled and fit in once a foundation has been prepared. These types of houses are slowly gaining popularity in Kenya and builders are now embracing this new technology which has the potential of reducing the costs of construction significantly. Prefab houses are a cheaper alternative for building houses, the house value are estimated to be between 30%-45% lower compared to a conventional stone house.
The concept behind prefabricated houses is widely accepted in the US and most developed countries like UK, Germany, Australia and Canada among others. However, in Kenya, the major problem hindering the popularity of this concept is the fact that locals do not appreciate this technology as they are used to conventional stone structures, in addition to the minimal understanding of the construction process of prefabricated homes. The best way of increasing the popularity of this concept is through informing the general public about prefab houses as a cheaper and affordable alternative of owning a home in Kenya.
How they work
Prefab houses are normally built in a different location and shipped into the desired position where the panels are installed as a standalone house. The construction of prefab houses starts by enlightening the potential home owners about the set procedures of installing a modular house. In the next stage, the potential home owners present the house designs and other relevant particulars to the manufactures before the house is assembled in the factory. After this, the prefab walling panels are prepared. Once complete, the potential home owners in support of a technical team installs the house according to the required guidelines and design. Nonetheless, when constructing the prefab houses, due diligence is always done to ensure that the homes are durable and well secured. In Kenya, some of the key industry players in the production of prefabricated homes are Eco-homes limited located along Kiambu Road, Koto Housing Kenya in Mlolongo, and Ankar Realtors in Ruiru among others.
Despite the above benefits, there exists the downside of prefab houses. Some of these include:
In conclusion, prefabricated homes are an upcoming trend in Kenya which is gradually gaining popularity due to its potential of reducing the costs of construction and saving on time. The prices of these types of houses are also relatively cheaper compared the conventional stone houses. This is a technology that stakeholders in the construction industry should embrace due to its affordability thus the probability of increasing home ownership in Kenya which has remained relatively low especially in urban areas at 21.3%.
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