Kenya is pushing for international and local joint ventures to execute the planned 8,000 low-cost housing units in Mavoko, Machakos after domestic firms failed the test.
Transport, Infrastructure and Urban Development Cabinet secretary James Macharia said the move was meant to fast-track the mass housing development.
“No local firm has the capacity for such developments and what we wanted were companies that have a verifiable record of having handled mass housing development. But we encourage joint ventures that will promote local companies’ capacity as well as foster a practical technology-transfer platform,” he said.
He said 35 companies had been shortlisted for the pilot project under an engineering and procuring construction model.
The model allows winning bidders to source for financing and put up the houses using affordable (of below Sh1.5 million) designs and technologies that are time-efficient but of high quality.
“We anticipate to break ground within the next three months in Mavoko but our eyes are now looking at the 47 counties where each county will have a project implemented while densely populated counties such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu and Kisumu among others, will witness more high-rise residential housing projects,” he said.
Mr Macharia said counties had identified land for the projects expected to ease the housing shortage, currently standing at two million units.
“Land is a major hindrance to housing development as it constitutes up to 30 per cent of the building costs. Once we provide land, the builders using alternative technologies will be able to enjoy fast-tracked processes enabling them to utilise time and labour efficiently,” he said.
The government has also pledged to provide essential infrastructure for the projects as a way of attracting private sector involvement.
The National Social Security Fund has also applied for the upcoming tenders as well as several local pension schemes and equity funds keen on partnering with building material manufacturers and contractors.
Kenya has recently witnessed the launch of alternative building technology firms such as Sh10 billion China Wu Yi Precast Company for building material.