The cost of owning a home goes beyond purchase of the land and constructing the house. There are other costs to be taken into consideration, including that much needed perimeter wall or fence.
Adding a fence to a property is now an investment in the security of the home, and it comes at a pretty penny. This is especially the reality for those in the urban and adjacent areas, moving away from the traditional or low cost fences and opting to put up modern or high cost fences.
This is because a fence does not only protect the house and mark a boundary for a property, but also provides the required privacy, and as an added advantage, gives the house exterior, a wonderful look.
And they come in different shapes and sizes ranging from concrete, stone or brick walls, wrought iron or aluminium fences, vinyl, wood or farm-style fences featuring barbed wires or those made of Kei Apple commonly known as Kayaba.
Donald Kimutai, who owns a quarter of an acre piece of land in Syokimau, says that he spent around Sh600,000 to fence the 100 by 100 plot and it could have even been more if he had not been hands-on during construction of the perimeter wall.
He spent another Sh150,000 to have an electric wire fence put around the property, driving up his fencing costs to over Sh750,000.
“It depends on the type of fence you want to put up and the size of the land to be fenced. One also has to be involved in the whole process rather than giving it to a contractor as that would only see the cost inflate,” he says.
Kimutai explains that his fence is a nine-course concrete perimeter wall where he used machine cut blocks (which are relatively cheaper), sand, quarry dust (which is used to complement sand) and cement for the exercise which took him a week to be completed.
He pointed out that he used over five lorries of red or original sand that went at Sh30,000 per lorry, over 20 bags of cement, two lorries of quarry dust which went for Sh6,000 a lorry and several Y10 and Y12 steel bars, in addition to amount spent on labour.
“I spent Sh2,400 a day on labour where I was paying one fundi (contractor) Sh1, 200 and his two ‘watu wa mkono’ (casual labourers) Sh600 each for the one week they took to put up the perimeter wall. I leased wood which was used in the coursing of the wall. It would have cost even more if I were to buy the wood,” he says.
Another home owner Evans Omondi, who has built his home in an eighth of an acre (50 by 100) at Malaa area along Kangundo Road, says he spent almost Sh300,000 to put up a nine-course perimeter wall.
He said he used two lorries of size 6 machine cut stones with each going for Sh34,000, a lorry of size 9 machine cut stone which went for Sh36, 000; two lorries of sand each costing Sh18,000 and a lorry of quarry dust which he bought at Sh16, 000.
This is in addition to Sh30,000 spent on buying 42 bags of cement, Sh17,000 paid to three construction workmen and another Sh20,000 for buying 24 steel bars used in supporting the wall.
“It takes a lot of money to put up a fence and more so when you are constructing in an urban place where prices of raw materials are more expensive,” he says.
Similar sentiments are shared by Mohamed Barasa who had to fork out Sh600,000 to put a nine course perimeter wall across his 60 feet by 160 feet piece of land in Utawala , Machakos County.
He explains that the bulk of the money went towards purchasing the machine cut stones, which formed the core of the fence followed by cement, steel bars and sand.
“Fencing takes a lot of money as you have to construct something that will guarantee you security and privacy from preying eyes. And this is only possible with a high cost fence not just any other. That Sh600,000 is enough to put up a decent house in the rural area,” says Barasa.
Home Afrika Limited projects origination manager Robert Simiyu says that depending on the type of fence one wants to put up, there are constant factors that affect the cost of each and they include cost of material, cost of approval from relevant bodies, labour cost, manpower availability and topography of the land.
Simiyu advises that to rein on the cost, an individual needs to engage a qualified planner to come up with a blueprint for the property to determine in advance the placement of structures within the plot and if one must do the concrete wall then they should utilize off-cuts.
He also recommends that one should plan in advance for the concrete wall before starting the construction of structures to avoid a situation where he or she is caught up in a construction rush as this will in itself save a lot in cost.
“Just as most people think of concrete, I advise that one should utilize natural fence though it takes time but it is the best considering the cost involved is minimal. The clever ones are going for a perfect mix of the two using the conventional barbed wire and a life fence to offset privacy.
“By doing this you greatly cut the cost of labour as few people will be needed. This is a key measure of reducing the duration one takes to complete the work hence spending less as the work will take shorter time to be completed,” added Mr Simiyu.