According to a HassConsult report released on January 31, it was revealed that most Nairobi residents are opting to buy land and build their own houses as opposed to buying and renting readily constructed ones.
Despite the growing demand for detached units, there are mistakes that many Kenyans make when choosing designs for their potential homes.
These mistakes can be costly as more often than not, people are forced to stop the construction process or carry out remodeling of the house which requires them to dig deep into their pockets.
Here are ten common mistakes that Kenyans make when choosing house designs.
1. Choosing a Plan That Does Suit Lifestyle
When choosing designs, people often choose classy or expensive house designs because they want the best for themselves and their families.
Speaking to a Nairobi-based Architect, Arnania Ogutu, stated that expensive designs are costly because of the complexities it comes with in terms of the materials to be used in the construction.
He added that many people stall their projects after starting off because it becomes costly to finish the house.
"You will find that someone in the middle-class may want a high-end house which becomes very costly for them during construction. It is advisable to choose a design which suits your lifestyle and that of your family," he stated.
2. Failing to Factor the Space for Furniture
Another mistake people make is failing to consider the size of their furniture or their household items.
In the end, people are forced to expand their houses or remodel some of the rooms to give more room for furniture. This move not only interferes with the integrity of the building but is also costly.
To some extent, people are even forced to change their furniture because seats cannot fit in the living room.
While choosing a house design is driven by personal taste, Ogutu warns that overexpression of taste can be costly especially if a person intends to sell the house in the future.
"If people come to the architects and they want a house that expresses their taste, they will get what they want because they are the clients. However, people have different tastes and reselling such a house can be very difficult in the real estate market," he stated.
House designs stipulate the cost that will be used during the construction. Different architectural designs also dictate different house features such as the roofing.
Some designs would require more cost to be incurred because of the roofing structure that may require more nails and iron sheets among others.
Additionally, the number of materials to be used is also dependent on some in-house features such as the number of walls within the house.
During the interview, Ogutu revealed that consulting professionals help Kenyans from plunging themselves into blunders that cannot be undone.
While some choose to consult architects from the beginning, other people tend to buy house designs from the streets and, therefore, they fail to get the input of professionals who can offer cost-saving advice.
Additionally, consulting family members is also important because they also live in the houses when they are finished and may prefer particular features.
“In some cases, you will find that people will have to remodel the house because their spouse does not like the design. It is important to involve family members when choosing the outlook of the house. It can save you a lot of money," he stated.
Another mistake people make is failing to consider the space of storage room for their houses. Unlike previously when stores were majorly separate buildings from the house, people nowadays opt to have storage units within the house.
Potential house owners are often advised to create more space for the storage units even if they may be considered as minor components of the house.
Some of the major components of a house include the bathrooms and washrooms and there are some unwritten laws that govern their location within a house .
For example, the bathrooms are mostly located next to the rooms to make it easy for people to access the utilities during the night. Washrooms are also kept far away from the kitchen area because of the hygiene standards.
All these factors always need to be kept in the design stage because people are often forced to change the rooms because they failed to put these rules into consideration.
8. Failing to Consider the Environment
During the Interview, Ogutu told Kenyans.co.ke that the environment often determines house designs.
"Some of the factors we put in the design process include the direction of the sun. Miscalculations during this stage can make someone end up with dark rooms in the houses or rooms that are extremely hot,” Ogutu stated.
The architect insisted that this problem can be solved by consulting a professional who knows the area the house is being built.
All rooms in a house serve a particular purpose and it is important to consider the size of rooms such as the bedroom of children. Having space in the bedroom eases room for children to have enough room to play further preventing injuries.
Space is equally important because it gives more room for creativity for the homeowner to add furniture of features to a particular room.
Among the costs involved in the construction of the house include payment to architects for the design and the cost of material used to bring what is on paper to reality. Therefore, Kenyans are advised to budget accordingly before undertaking the project.
If you go beyond your budget to get a particular design, you fall into a big trap because house designs determine the cost of construction. The design will basically determine if you will pay more or less for your house," Ogutu stated.