Roadside architects offer Kenyans affordable house designs

An emerging pool of trained architects are cashing in on the exorbitant prices of house designs by selling them cheaply on designated areas of the streets for Sh1000, down from six percent of the total construction cost that a standard architecture charges.

The architects and designers also estimate resources needed for their clients.

According to the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors, the standard fee for architectural house plan in Kenya is 6 percent of the total construction costs.

David Gitonga is one such entrepreneur who hawks his house designs along the road in Nairobi’s Community area.

On a good day, the Housing and Construction Diploma Holder from the Technical University formally Kenya Polytechnic pockets Sh6,000 from the business he started in 2012.

“I usually spend three days in a week to come up with at least two house plans, design and print them. I only sell my wares on Friday and Saturday, ‘said Gitonga.

He explained that apart from selling assorted plans he designed a while back, he takes specifications from some clients and even visit sites on request at agreed fee.

”The process begins with drawing a rough sketch, partitioning, roofing and decorating walls to achieve a blue print whose standard must be approved to be a well done work of architecture,” revealed Fredrick Ochieng, anotherconducting his business along Kimathi street in Nairobi.

He continues that the plan is transferred onto one page and other information like plot number, size, area, full names and ID of the architect are included before going for a print out.

Humphrey Otengo bought a house plan in Kisumu town for his residential home in Vihiga County. He explains that he showed it to his constructor who ensured the work is executed as on the paper.

He approximates the total cost of the building at Sh1.5 million. This means, if he was to contract an architect, he could have parted with Sh120,000 for the house plan according to the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors standards

To conduct the business in town, Ochieng explained that he secure a license from Nairobi City County which he normally renew for Sh5000 every year.

He however regrets that con men who plagiarize works of registered architects have invaded the industry an aspect that he terms detrimental to his business.

A practicing architect must be registered by BRAQS and be able to produce original pieces of work.Ochieng takes home at least Sh2000 daily in profit after subtracting expenditure costs.

According to Ochieng, most of his clients are young people between 25-45 years working in uptown government and private offices.

A recent property index report by the Hass Consult predicts a higher up take of mortgages considering the government’s initiative to curb high bank rates.

According to the report, major banks have toed the line. This is good news for entrepreneurs like Gitonga and Ochieng as their client base is likely to grow.

Some other places one is likely to purchase house plans includes Nairobi’s Banda street and  Oloo street in Eldoret.


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