To stem the practice, Mr. Kamau later decided to recruit two or three other workers to spy on their colleagues and report back to him. In return, he would secretly pay his “spies” an extra Sh100 a day.
“The strategy has seen me save millions of shillings by helping me get rid of deceitful foremen and fundis,” he says.
Acknowledging that such thieving is rampant at construction sites around the country, Mr. Murithi notes that it is not only criminal and immoral but also compromises quality as workers end up using substandard materials.
“To prevent pilferage, our firm employs construction managers who are always present at the construction sites. The construction managers are compelled to periodically write and submit reports indicating how each and every material delivered at the site is used,” Mr. Murithi says.
Some homeowners have a tendency of suggesting changes when the building is already under construction. Always be on the lookout for any changes to the original plan as you will be responsible for the extra costs.
If you can, avoid building during the rainy season. Mr. Murithi says building between April and June is very stressful for builders because, thanks to the heavy rains, roads networks tend to get flooded, making it difficult to transport of materials. This also increases the costs and is time-consuming.
Do you really need all those angles, sidewalls and pillars? Talk to with your architect to determine whether a few structural changes to the original plan can help you save some money.
Mr. Amos Ndirangu, a Nairobi-based architect, explains that the more complicated the design of your home is, the higher the construction costs.
To begin with, Mr. Ndirangu suggests that you limit the number of corners your house has, especially on the exterior walls. This is because corners take extra materials and require more labour to build.
Another change in design that can save you money is limiting the inclination of your roof. A steep roof, though attractive, translates to a larger surface area, thereby requiring more roofing material.
But as much as it is advisable to engage professionals, there are things you can do by your self to save money. For instance, you can do the painting or landscaping by yourself.
“Although we have a professional landscaper in our team, we usually ask clients who are looking to cut costs to do the landscaping themselves,” Mr. Murithi says.
-This feature was first published in the Daily Nation.