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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Chinese firm opens factory for prefab materials

A Chinese firm has set up a Sh3 billion factory in Kitengela for production of prefabricated building materials.

The company, Boleyn Magic Wall Limited, said its Kitengela factory will manufacture wall panels, half slabs, staircases, hollow core slabs for flooring and roofing, columns and pressurised beams for the prefab housing units.

Prefabricated houses are manufactured offsite, usually in standard sections that are portable and assembled at the construction site just like a typical home.

“We expect to bring down the cost of building a home by up to 20 per cent and provide homes for low income segments of the market,” said Boleyn managing director Jack Liu in an interview.

Construction of houses in Kenya is usually via brick and mortar method but a housing shortage is supporting the rise in use of the new prefab technology which is faster and cheaper. The houses are assembled and ready between two weeks to three months depending on size and style of the owner.

Demand for prefab houses is picking although slowly, as more international firms in this business set up in Kenya.

The Boleyn factory will have capacity to produce material for 20,000 housing units annually. The firm plans to start sale of its products next month. Apart from the prefab housing materials, the Boleyn factory will also manufacture road barriers, railway sleepers as well as highway and bridge beams.

Other firms that are in the prefab housing business in Kenya include Malaysian based Koto Housing, EHG Kenya and Hong Kong Building Centre among others.

According to property industry experts, prefab technique reduces the construction period and labour by an estimated 60 per cent and overall capital investment by over four per cent. The technique can also be used to construct highrise apartments and large scale housing units.

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