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Saturday, September 19, 2020

EPS vs conventional stones: Which is cheaper for building a house?

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EPS Building Technology Kenya: When the  Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) building technology launched in Kenya a few years ago, it was expected to revolutionize the construction industry in Kenya. More so, since the government, through the National Housing Construction had offered to manufacture and sell EPS panels at affordable prices.

However, Kenyans have been caught up in a price dilemma over the affordability of this building technology when compared to the conventional stones building. A simple check up online reveals that the EPS panels for walls sell at between Sh. 4,500 and Sh. 5,000. These panels measure between 1.2 metres and 3 metres.

Cost breakdown: Building a three bedroom house with Sh. 2.4 million

In the same vein, floor slab panels cost between Sh. 3,800 and Sh. 6,800 based on thickness. These panels measure approximately 1.2 metres by 2.45 metres with a thickness of either 100mm or 200mm.

In contrast, the basic quarry stones go for between Sh. 18 and Sh. 20 per foot, with an extra Sh. 6 per foot stone-washing cost. The machine cut stones go for approximately Sh. 35 per foot. Working with the basic quarry stones, you will save over Sh. 20,000 in one single room measuring 5 metres by 5 metres after factoring extra costs such as sand and cement.

The biggest gains when using EPS panels is realized on the cost of labour. But this is only significant if the builder is using EPS in the construction of multiple houses. A single unit will be more costly and stressful to build when using EPS panels.

There is also the notion that when building a masionette, an EPS slab may save you money due to the limited number of steel bars used. This is not exactly the case, unless where multiple slabs are at play. Nonetheless, other than costs, an EPS building comes with extra benefits such as sound proof and high resistance to disasters such as earthquakes.

Quick notes:

Should you choose to go the EPS way, some of the companies manufacturing EPS panels include.

  • C-MAX is one of the factories manufacturing EPS panels in Kenya. It is located along Thika Superhighway just next to Kenya Clay products.
  • NHC also has a factory worth Sh. 1 billion in Mavoko near Nairobi which was launched in 2012.
  • Koto Housing Kenya is an EPS producing company located in Mombasa Road, Mlolongo Machakos county.
  • Isopanels Kenya.
  • Hong Kong building along Mombasa Road, a Chinese company based in Kenya. It was launched in 2014.
  • EPS 3D panels is another manufacturing company located in Ruiru, Kiambu county. They currently have a project that is running in Bungoma county whereby they are using 3D walls and slab panels.

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