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The National Construction Authority (NCA) hosted a workshop on affordable housing in Mombasa on Wednesday, 30th January at the Reef Hotel, Nyali. The workshop, targeting contractors and doubling as a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training was themed “Tapping into the Big Four Agenda on Affordable Housing in Kenya”,and integrated a panel discussion approach away from the conventional monologues.
NCA’s Acting Executive Director Eng. Maurice Akech welcomed the workshop delegates, and reiterated the Authority’s critical role in capacity building, a continuous effort that is key to developing the industry. He lauded the contractors in attendance for their commitment to self-improvement.
Eng. Stephen Kogi, a member of the Authority’s Board of Directors, spoke on the importance of identifying the opportunities within the affordable housing agenda and how to surmount the challenges, which was the main focus of the workshop. He went on to note that the county governments’ role involved sensitization of the wider Big Four Agenda especially in the rural areas, in order to encourage public participation and stakeholder buy in of the various projects that will be undertaken.
Public Works Principle Secretary Prof. Paul Maringa was the day’s chief guest but was unable to attend due to pressing official matters. His speech, read by his representative Mr. Stephen Ikua, the Secretary of Administration at the State Department of Public Works, highlighted the country’s huge housing deficit. “ We currently have a shortage of 1.5 million houses in the country. The Government has stratified the housing projects into low cost, social, mortgage gap, middle and high level income housing. Continuous discussions are being held improve on the current model. The housing fund project, with proper policies already in place, is expected to inject Ksh 2.6 trillion into the economy, leading to an expected increase in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 7% to 14% by year 2022.” The PS’s speech continued, “Learning is continuous process that keeps the industry dynamic and vibrant, and workshops such as these remain relevant and necessary.”
Innovative Building Technology and Materials (IBTM) Committee Chairperson Mr. Paul Gesora noted that the success of the affordable housing agenda is anchored on innovative building technology. He further noted that the affordable housing debate should be contextualized to focus on materials, infrastructure, land, policy, technology and quality workmanship, and emphasized that the realization of the Big Four Agenda is largely dependent on the collaboration between the government and private sector.
Mr. Gesora also spoke about the technologies displayed at the Affordable Housing Village, situated at the Jamhuri Show Grounds in Nairobi. Debuting at the 2018 Nairobi International Trade Fair, the Village featured various developers constructing show houses using different types of technologies and utilizing materials that were both sustainable and affordable. The developers included Built Mart Solutions, Koto Company, Eco Brains and Bola Associates. The Village should be of interest to any stakeholder in the built environment as IBMT will feature prominently in the affordable housing agenda.
“Affordable doesn’t necessarily mean cheap, it means acquiring a decent house relative to your income.” Eng. Shankla, former NCA board member reiterated.
The workshop panelists included Architectural Association of Kenya Vice President Gad Opiyo,, former NCA Vice Chair Dr. Isabella Njeri, Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK) Chairman Qs. Peter Kariuki, the State Department of Housing’s Dr. Leah Oyake and Kenya Property Developers Association (KPDA) Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Mwangi-Oluoch.
The panelists’ explored different avenues of tapping into the opportunities availed by the Big Four Agenda, such as mergers that will enable contractors pool their resources and maximize on their expertise and financing options through bank mortgages and pension schemes. Contractors were urged to furnish themselves with information, readily available on the government portal on affordable housing.
Eng. Maurice Akech closed the workshop by reiterating the panelists’ comments, and urged contractors to join associations which will afford them bargaining power, useful for agitating for their rights, such as timely payments.
To view NCA’s contractor training schedule, click HERE.