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Factory-made buildings set to shorten construction time

A building constructed using MRM's new technology. [File, Standard]

You can now construct your warehouse at the factory and transport it to your premises for assembly.

A new technology launched by Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM), under parent firm Safal Group, has attracted investors in the construction industry.

The pre-engineered technology named SafBuild constitutes customised steel structures with walls and roofing, including insulation, ventilation and rainwater trappers.

It is suitable primarily for factories, warehouses, garages, Boda Boda and market sheds and workshops.

MRM Chief Executive Andrew Heycot says many projects across commercial, agricultural, industrial and social sectors will benefit from the solution.

Tight timelines

He says the technology will save on the cost of construction while reducing the time used.

“This world-class technology in pre-engineered steel building solutions allows us to deliver buildings to clients within very tight timelines,” he said.

The process ensures controlled quality, standards compliance and elimination of waste, reduced corrosion and can reduce overall site construction times by up to 50 per cent compared to a traditional steel building.”

The company says county governments are already sending in orders for the new model.

When the coronavirus docked on Kenyan shores, the national and county governments struggled to build isolation wards for patients.

Kiambu County was one of the counties hardest hit by infections due to its proximity to the capital Nairobi, which had been marked as the virus epicentre.

With the need to build an isolation centre fast to tame the spread of the virus, the county took a gamble with the new design.

MRM constructed a 104-bed capacity fully equipped unit for Covid-19 emergency cases.

The isolation unit, valued at over Sh25 million, was fabricated at the MRM factory and assembled at site.

“We are witness on how this new innovation is a game-changer in the construction industry,” said Kiambu County Health Executive Joseph Murega during the official launch of the technology last week at MRM factory in Athi River.

“With the use of this offsite building technology, we at Kiambu County Government have been able to construct an isolation ward in a record 10 weeks.”

Game changer

The new design, although a game-changer in the construction industry, is not suitable for residential use because the whole structure is made of steel.

The building can, however, allow partial or full masonry walls to be integrated in between the steel structure.

And despite it being lean, fast and clean to build, with no mess and hardly any wastage at the site, the technology is not cheap, compared to the conventional building style.

According to an invoice seen by Home and Away, a typical warehouse building measuring 20 metres by 50m and 6m high would be approximately Sh6,000-Sh7,000 per square metre, inclusive of tax.

Installation would cost an additional Sh1,000-Sh1,400 per square metre.

According to the customer’s preference, the new technology can also support a multi-storey structure.