What can a client learn from Pacific Reality to enable them/ bring down the costs of construction? Which things should be considered or avoided in order to build your house cheaply?
DOING IT ALONE
According to Mr. Murithi, the most important thing is engaging professionals in every aspect of your building. Unless you are a seasoned developer, he strongly advises against managing the process on your own or, like many people do, leaving the construction site under the supervision of a relative.
Many people avoid construction firms in an effort to cut costs, but they end up losing money due to pilferage and shoddy work. “If you decide to build on your own but you don’t know what you are doing, there are chances that you’ll end up paying a contractor more money to fix your mistakes,” says Mr. Murithi.
He says people who put their relatives in charge at construction sites have been known to lose up to 40 percent of the total construction costs due to pilferage, while construction companies charge only 5 percent of the total construction cost (see related story on pg 4).
A major advantage of using a registered firm is that such companies shoulder a significant proportion of the risks and liability. “We usually go through the building budget with the client before the construction starts. If we agree, for instance, that a three-bedroom, single-storey maisonette will cost Sh2.7 million and then send the client an invoice for Sh3.5 million, he/she has the right to seek legal redress and be compensated for the excess money used. On the other hand, if you put a relative in charge of a construction site, the building costs may run off the charts and you will have nowhere to seek redress since you shoulder all the risks,” explains Mr. Murithi.
Dealing with a reputable construction firm not only saves you money but also saves time because you do not have to make frequent visits to the construction site. “Many of our clients live abroad and cannot afford to travel home frequently just to check on a project. We handle all the logistics and only send them photos regularly,” the MD says.
Another trick that a builder can use to save money is sourcing for materials on their own, as opposed to giving the responsibility to those manning the construction site such as the foreman and fundis.
“The reason I decided to start building budget homes as a business,” Mr. Murithi says, “is because I once owned a hardware store and would see foremen brazenly scamming their bosses.
He says the foremen would collude with hardware store owners to deceive the home-builders by marking up the prices of supplies and backing them up with fake receipts.
“At Pacific Reality, we bypass hardware retailers and source for building materials directly from the suppliers at the lowest prices,” he reveals.