Sh845m housing project for Embu civil servants behind schedule

Building of the 220 units was projected to end in June but will now be extended

In Summary

• Projected to take 96 weeks.

• Contractor facing challenges, including natural events. 

Director of civil servants housing department Simon Opondo in Embu on Thursday
DELAY: Director of civil servants housing department Simon Opondo in Embu on Thursday
Image: Reuben Githinji

The Sh845 million housing project for Embu civil servants could fail to meet the completion deadline set by the government and the contractor.

It was projected to take 96 weeks, but the director of civil servants housing department, Simon Opondo, now says it could be extended. Only 65 per cent of the work has been finished two months to June deadline. 

The 220 houses are being built along the Meru-Embu highway, opposite Isaak Walton Inn. 

The project is part of the national government’s Big Four agenda under which affordable housing is a critical pillar. Other pillars are manufacturing, food security and affordable healthcare.

They include two-bedroom and three-bedroom units. Very little work has been done on roads and storm-water drainage. 

“Because of the terrain of the land and certain other issues, which were not anticipated, the contractor may apply for an extension of time and if we find it justifiable, we may be able to grant that extension,” Opondo said on Thursday.

He spoke during an inspection tour of the site.

He said in case the contractor does not qualify for an extension, they will allow him to complete the work but will be penalised.

Opondo said natural events such as the rain that has been pounding Embu could also delay the project. Such issues will be considered when deciding on the extension.

The director was accompanied by several government officers. He was satisfied with the design and workmanship. He said the contractor is using low-cost materials to ensure the houses are affordable to target beneficiaries. 

The houses are in storied blocks. They will be sold to civil servants in Embu. Opondo said there is an overwhelming demand for houses by civil servants.

The Civil Servants Housing Scheme was started in 2004 to enable civil servants to access affordable houses. It has been successful and cost-effective. Similar projects are implemented in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kiambu and Machakos. The government plans to expand it to other towns.