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NHC factory starts churning our prefab panels

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19 – The National Housing Corporation (NHC) has begun construction of houses using prefabricated panels from its Mavoko Factory.

The introduction of prefab houses into the Kenyan market is one of the ways the housing corporation is looking to improve the efficiency of meeting a housing deficit in the country.

NHC Managing Director James Ruitha said the technology reduces the time taken to put up housing by up to 50 percent and diminishes the cost by about 20 percent.

“The benefits of this new technology translate into lower cost of purchase for the consumer,” Ruitha said.

The prefabricated technology also saves on labour since the house parts are easily fastened to each other during installation.

Ruitha said demand for houses in urban centres currently outstrips supply by five times, leading to a rise in house prices locking out the low and middle-income earners from owning homes.

“We are not happy with the speed of putting up houses. Releasing an average of 100 houses per year is not enough considering the current demand,” he said.

The National Housing Corporation of Kenya is constructing the housing panels to take advantage of Italian technology for mass factory production of modular houses.

The prefabrication factory was put up at a cost of Sh700 million to mass produce industrial panels for house construction.

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To demonstrate the cost and time advantages of the technology, the corporation embarked on constructing a sample house using the EPS panels alongside a conventional stone and mortar house.

Both houses are of identical design, built by an equal number of workers and commenced on the same date.

The technology further simplifies construction of houses to mere assembly of the panels.

The construction of the two houses started on September 8 and the completion date is expected to be on September 30. The expected completion date of houses built with conventional stone and mortar is January next year.

The factory is set to be commissioned in December and mass production of the panels is set for January next year.

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