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Longonot taps Malaysian technology to reduce costs

From left: Longonot Gate Development Ltd chairman Lee Karuri, managing director Consolata Gituto, Ms Sophia Wathigo, executive director, and Mr James Waithigo, legal director,  during the introduction of a low cost building technology at Longonot Gate in  Naivasha  on Saturday. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
From left: Longonot Gate Development Ltd chairman Lee Karuri, managing director Consolata Gituto, Ms Sophia Wathigo, executive director, and Mr James Waithigo, legal director, during the introduction of a low cost building technology at Longonot Gate in Naivasha on August 16. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

Longonot Gate is introducing a building technology it says will lower construction costs at its Naivasha development by more than a third.

Promoters of the resort city off Moi Southlake road said the precast concrete technology would reduce the average price of a holiday home to Sh9 million from Sh14 million.

With the introduction of the technology sourced from Malaysia that reduces construction time by a half, Longonot joins builders importing technologies to cut rising construction costs.

“For instance, a home that would cost Sh14 million using traditional construction technologies would cost Sh9 million if precast concrete technology is employed. This technology also reduces period of home building from 12 months to 6months,” said chairman Lee Karuri in a statement.

A show-house is under construction and should be ready for viewing by December this year, he added.

Nyayo Estate has also used the precast technology. The developers unveiled the technology to investors in the project that was commissioned in 2012.

Longonot Gate managing director Consolata Gituto said the cost-saving technology has become necessary due to the price of steel, cement and other construction materials rising at a brisk pace in recent years.

Other developers agree that despite the high price of land, construction costs are still taking up a large share of their budgets.

“Land is only about 10-15 per cent of the total development cost while things like construction which account for 60-70 per cent of the development costs have a bigger impact on developers than land costs ,” said Acorn Group chief executive Edward Kirathe.

The government at both the national and county level is also eying alternative technologies to bring down the construction costs.

State-owned National Housing Corporation (NHC) has invested Sh1 billion in a plant that manufactures alternative building materials.

The Mavoko-based plant manufactures portable panels that use Expanded Polystyrene technology which uses soft board panels and wire mesh to construct walls, floor and slabs of buildings instead of concrete and timber.

Nyeri, Kitui, Lamu and Bungoma county governments have all said they will use panels from NHC’s plant to put up staff housing and administration offices.

Foreign investors are also targeting the alternative building materials market. Feng Hui, a Chinese investor, put up the Hong Kong Building Centre, a factory along Mombasa Road that produces wall panels.

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