New housing technology to facilitate completion of Kiptum's home in 7 days

Engineers upbeat about finishing construction of Kelvin Kiptum's three-bedroom house in one week.  [Peter Ochieng, Standard] 

President William Ruto last Friday dispatched a team of engineers to the home of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum, with instructions to build a three-bedroom house for his family.

The president gave firm instructions that the house, to be constructed on a four-acre farm, which Kiptum had purchased in Cherunya, Uasin Gishu County, should be completed within seven days, at least before the burial date.

To many Kenyans, building a house in a record one week is unconceivable.

But on Sunday, The Standard visited the site and the house was taking shape with the engineers indicating that they were at 50 per cent completion and confident they will beat the Thursday deadline.

Engineers were upbeat about the possibility of finishing the works within the stipulated period as construction has been going on day and night.

So far, wiring and piping has been completed. The project is one of its kind in the region as residents marvel at the speed at which the house is being built.

Tuta Richard, a senior director at the State Department for Housing and Urban Development, said construction of the three-bedroom en-suite house relies on a new technology.

Environment friendly

The technology uses cold-pressed steel as primary construction material and is durable, promotes speedy construction and is environment friendly.

“Light gauge steel is a combination of technology from various Western countries and aims at minimising the use of concrete,” noted Tuta.

He affirmed that despite the short period, his team was dedicated to building a good home for the family of the late long-distance champion.

“We are working 24 hours a day and the instructions we have are that the house must be ready by Thursday morning. We are not just building a house, we are building a home for Kiptum’s family,” said the director.

He said by the end of Monday (yesterday), the construction works will be at around 80 percent and nearing completion.

Construction works at Kelvin Kiptum's property in Ainabkoi constituency, Uasin Gishu County. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

“We have erected the skeleton walls and what follows will be bracing them and then boarding of the interior and exterior followed by gypsum and cement board on the outside. Finally, painting will be done before the houses is handed over to the family. We have all the materials and we are confident that we will beat the set deadline,” Tuta said. 

He encouraged Kenyans to embrace the technology in constructing their houses, noting that it has many advantages.

“Let us not fear to embrace science. This is the way to go. This is like a printed 3D house that has attracted the attention of many people,” said Tuta. 

When Head of Public Service Felix Koskei toured the project to inspect the construction works, he gave firm assurance that the house will be officially handed over to the family on Thursday afternoon.

It is at this new home where Kiptum’s remains will be interred on February 23. The grave side has already been identified by the family and, according to the Keiyo traditions, it is located on the front right side of the house.

Apart from the house being handed to Kiptum’s widow Asenath Cheruto, the State is also building another three- bedroom house for Kiptum’s parents on the same parcel of land.

Tuta said at the site that they have blended tradition and modernity even in the construction of the parents house outside the compound of the widow’s house.

However, the parents’ house will take at least a month before it is completed. It was hinted that the father wanted the project to be put up using the ordinary processes.

Uasin Gishu County residents thronged the village to catch a glimpse of the new technology employed in building the late Kiptum’s house. 

“We have never seen such a house in this region. People have come from far and wide to see this for themselves. We are amazed a house project can be completed in a week. We thank the government for deeming it fit to support Kiptum’s family through such works,” said Issac Biwott.

Kiptum will be buried at his new home in Cherunya Lotonyok area in Ainabkoi, Uasin Gishu County.

A funeral service will be held near Kiptum’s parent’s home at Chepsamo Primary School in Elgeyo Marakwet County where the late attended school.

Kelvin Kiptum's home in Chepsamo village, Keiyo South. [Peter Ochieng, Standard] 

Speaking during the inspection, Koskei on Sunday said the government is on top of things and will ensure Kiptum gets a befitting send-off.

Koskei said part of the government’s contribution to the family of the late athlete is construction of two houses, one for Kiptum’s widow and another for his parents.

“Kiptum’s death is a tragic loss. A star that was shining has been dimmed,” he said.

He added: “I came to inspect the construction of the house for the widow and, as directed yesterday, the house of the parents. All experts, including engineers and surveyors, are here to ensure that we build a home that is near the dreams of Kiptum,” said Koskei.

Koskeii hailed Kiptum as a hero saying that his death has been a blow to all Kenyans and the rest of the world.

“We have to ensure the family is settled as part of government’s contribution at least before the funeral is held. So far, I am satisfied with the ongoing works here,” said the Head of Public Service.

Kiptum, 24, died alongside his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana in a fatal road accident along  Eldoret-Ravine highway on February 11. He is survived by a widow and two children.