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Construction of 1,434 affordable houses begins as contractor moves to site

By Peter Muiruri | January 16th 2020
An artist's impression of the Pangani Affordable Housing project being undertake by Technofin under the governments Big Four Housing pillar.

After a several months’ delay, construction of another affordable homes project has now begun.

The building of 1,434 residential units along Racecourse Road in Pangani, Nairobi, is now underway after the contractor moved to the site on Tuesday.

The 5.2-acre site was handed over to China Wu Yi by Tecnofin Kenya Limited, the company that won the bid to renew and redevelop the estate under the Urban Renewal Programme and Joint Venture Partnership.

The entire project is expected to be complete in 36 months, with the first block of 18 floors expected to be complete in 45 weeks, while the second will be constructed beginning March 1, 2020.

In the deal, the county government will provide land and all necessary approvals while Tecnofin will develop the project and sell the completed units through Stima Investments Co-operative Society.

Speaking during the site handover ceremony, David Sirma, Tecnofin Finance and Administration manager, said the project was no longer theoretical as had been the case with many other conceptualised plans.

“We have achieved a major milestone. The project is now a reality following the entry of the Chinese contractor. The affordable housing train has left the station,” he said.

Mr Sirma said projects of this nature required more time and forethought as they involved handling the welfare of those living on the City County land.

A lounge in the New Pangani Housing Project under the affordable housing scheme. [Courtesy]

He said tenants’ relocation was negotiated for over two years, and an agreement reached in April last year to pay Sh600,000 to facilitate relocation.

“The 48 tenants will be allocated three bed-roomed apartments with a value of Sh3 million. They will pay for the units under Tenant-Purchase Scheme at the rate of Sh8,000 per month over a period of 30 years. This is equivalent to one month’s rent they are currently paying to the county,” said Sirma.

The funds were paid between May and August last year.

Sirma says that while people expect to see the physical structures coming up, site analysis, including geological and topographical survey, has been ongoing. “In September 2019, a three-month geo-technical survey was done and the samples obtained from the 15-metre drilling analysed in laboratories in and out of Kenya. This usually determines the excavation levels, where the columns would be set. This had to be done before the contractor could be assigned the work, as this has serious financial impact on the contract value,” said Sirma.

He said water supply and sewerage lines that crossed through the property also had to be relocated.

Excavation of the first block started in October and was completed at the end of November 2019. Excavation of the second block started immediately thereafter.

“However, heavy rains realised in October through to December last year delayed the excavation process while the dumping site could not be accessed as it was too wet and muddy. Lorries got stuck and could only work between 11.30am and 2.30pm most of the days,” he added.

The houses will go for between Sh1 million and Sh3 million and will only be available to low income earners who satisfy the eligibility criteria. The developer said there would be no fancy finishes that could raise their cost. “These will be functional homes that meet all the requirements of a decent, affordable house,” said Sirma.

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