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Building an Apartment Block
Jon Jones
#1 Posted : Sunday, July 05, 2020 5:20:09 PM
Rank: Member


Joined: 9/11/2015
Posts: 142
Location: Thika
I have some questions and I believe that wazua is one of the places where landlords are. I don't know much about construction, so give me some rope.
1. How long does it take to build a 5-storey building, assuming that the funds are available in full and land is already purchased?
2. For someone without a background in construction, how much can one truly "save"? Are the financial savings worth the wait??
3. How stressful/stress-free is the process? How complicated is the process? Can a person like me with zero knowledge about buildings pull it off without being conned off large sums of money by industry participants?
4. How do people like me go about building apartment blocks? Can I just hire a project manager to take me through the process from A to Z? I heard that some people hire the chinese or other construction companies with their specifications and pay in phases. Kindly shed some light.

I just want to educate myself. That's all. Much appreciated.
Since men have learned to shoot without missing, I have learned to fly without perching
amorphous
#2 Posted : Sunday, July 05, 2020 7:09:09 PM
Rank: Member


Joined: 5/15/2019
Posts: 371
Location: planet earth
Jon Jones wrote:
I have some questions and I believe that wazua is one of the places where landlords are. I don't know much about construction, so give me some rope.
1. How long does it take to build a 5-storey building, assuming that the funds are available in full and land is already purchased?
2. For someone without a background in construction, how much can one truly "save"? Are the financial savings worth the wait??
3. How stressful/stress-free is the process? How complicated is the process? Can a person like me with zero knowledge about buildings pull it off without being conned off large sums of money by industry participants?
4. How do people like me go about building apartment blocks? Can I just hire a project manager to take me through the process from A to Z? I heard that some people hire the chinese or other construction companies with their specifications and pay in phases. Kindly shed some light.

I just want to educate myself. That's all. Much appreciated.



Totally possible blatha
Rule numero uno...never listen to Wazoo naysayers. Wait you see how they will land on you like a TON OF BRICKS with terrible mawaidahas.
I remember when I first asked this same question (self build) hapa a few years back

Swenani was helpful and encouraging
A cretin called Kangangio (whatever happened to this doba?) landed with ujuaji mooooooob na hukali miiingi ati if you cannot tell the difference between white, brown and grey sands, forget about building even a cattle dip!
Obiero gave good feedback
Stiffler cheered Kangangio on ati these things are impossible for you! Huwezi kapsa kapsaa!
Jitahidi a man of wisdom and experience (from his posts) encouraged me by telling me these things are not rocket science..all one needs a willingness to learn and move on
Mukiri added nothing useful including a cryptic "listen to the professionals"
Point alitwanga point kali encouraging me to forge on with good fundis as it is doable
Thitifin gave scare stories about a sagging staircase that cost a milli to rectify but redeemed himself with a few useful mawaidhas hapa na pale
Musimo had excellent tips

Several years on and several projects completed, I can say with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight that the naysayers tips were all RUBBISH and the positive commentators tips were worth their weight in gold. I suggest you start with the famous Pablo/Questions for A4archtect thread like I did back then. I was obsessed with that thread, I am pretty sure I read it at least ten times and that is saying a lot as it is very long. I learned more from that thread than I have learned afterwards. Reading that thread alone will answer 99% of your questions.

Then once the learning stage is over, do not waste time with analysis of paralysis. Nothing beats HANDS ON/PRACTICAL knowledge, especially on things like items needed to build the house, concrete mixtures, etc.

Then BUILD IN STAGES. This has many advantages. 1 you learn so much during each stage. If you are swindled at this stage you can reflect and learn the bitter lesson (nothing teaches you fast more than losing a bit of hard earned money on a small scale!). You also come up with new ideas and knowledge as you embark into the next stage. You can easily get overwhelmed building everything at once, but if you build in stages you bite what you can chew and digest and keep moving smoothly.

Good luck and I hope the building is going to be in #DustbowlCounty Forever!Drool but if not, all the best all the same. Those are my humble peni mbili.

NIMESEMA!
Emotions and ego are twin enemies of strategy
Wakanyugi
#3 Posted : Monday, July 06, 2020 7:57:40 AM
Rank: Veteran


Joined: 7/3/2007
Posts: 1,627
amorphous wrote:
Jon Jones wrote:
I have some questions and I believe that wazua is one of the places where landlords are. I don't know much about construction, so give me some rope.
1. How long does it take to build a 5-storey building, assuming that the funds are available in full and land is already purchased?
2. For someone without a background in construction, how much can one truly "save"? Are the financial savings worth the wait??
3. How stressful/stress-free is the process? How complicated is the process? Can a person like me with zero knowledge about buildings pull it off without being conned off large sums of money by industry participants?
4. How do people like me go about building apartment blocks? Can I just hire a project manager to take me through the process from A to Z? I heard that some people hire the chinese or other construction companies with their specifications and pay in phases. Kindly shed some light.

I just want to educate myself. That's all. Much appreciated.



Totally possible blatha
Rule numero uno...never listen to Wazoo naysayers. Wait you see how they will land on you like a TON OF BRICKS with terrible mawaidahas.
I remember when I first asked this same question (self build) hapa a few years back

Swenani was helpful and encouraging
A cretin called Kangangio (whatever happened to this doba?) landed with ujuaji mooooooob na hukali miiingi ati if you cannot tell the difference between white, brown and grey sands, forget about building even a cattle dip!
Obiero gave good feedback
Stiffler cheered Kangangio on ati these things are impossible for you! Huwezi kapsa kapsaa!
Jitahidi a man of wisdom and experience (from his posts) encouraged me by telling me these things are not rocket science..all one needs a willingness to learn and move on
Mukiri added nothing useful including a cryptic "listen to the professionals"
Point alitwanga point kali encouraging me to forge on with good fundis as it is doable
Thitifin gave scare stories about a sagging staircase that cost a milli to rectify but redeemed himself with a few useful mawaidhas hapa na pale
Musimo had excellent tips

Several years on and several projects completed, I can say with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight that the naysayers tips were all RUBBISH and the positive commentators tips were worth their weight in gold. I suggest you start with the famous Pablo/Questions for A4archtect thread like I did back then. I was obsessed with that thread, I am pretty sure I read it at least ten times and that is saying a lot as it is very long. I learned more from that thread than I have learned afterwards. Reading that thread alone will answer 99% of your questions.

Then once the learning stage is over, do not waste time with analysis of paralysis. Nothing beats HANDS ON/PRACTICAL knowledge, especially on things like items needed to build the house, concrete mixtures, etc.

Then BUILD IN STAGES. This has many advantages. 1 you learn so much during each stage. If you are swindled at this stage you can reflect and learn the bitter lesson (nothing teaches you fast more than losing a bit of hard earned money on a small scale!). You also come up with new ideas and knowledge as you embark into the next stage. You can easily get overwhelmed building everything at once, but if you build in stages you bite what you can chew and digest and keep moving smoothly.

Good luck and I hope the building is going to be in #DustbowlCounty Forever!Drool but if not, all the best all the same. Those are my humble peni mbili.

NIMESEMA!


Wow! This is really helpful advice MM. If you learn to avoid being sidetracked by the naysayers you speak of (and let the 'casino players' be) you can become an oracle of value to rival Mzee Young.
"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth." (Niels Bohr)
amorphous
#4 Posted : Monday, July 06, 2020 9:49:10 AM
Rank: Member


Joined: 5/15/2019
Posts: 371
Location: planet earth
Point taken. I am glad to see my chief nemesis Sparkles has finally started behaving well Laughing out loudly Laughing out loudly Laughing out loudly. Na hiyo ni progress. I am generally a peaceful man if treated in a peaceful and constructive way.
Emotions and ego are twin enemies of strategy
Wakanyugi
#5 Posted : Monday, July 06, 2020 3:31:42 PM
Rank: Veteran


Joined: 7/3/2007
Posts: 1,627
Jon Jones wrote:
I have some questions and I believe that wazua is one of the places where landlords are. I don't know much about construction, so give me some rope.
1. How long does it take to build a 5-storey building, assuming that the funds are available in full and land is already purchased?
2. For someone without a background in construction, how much can one truly "save"? Are the financial savings worth the wait??
3. How stressful/stress-free is the process? How complicated is the process? Can a person like me with zero knowledge about buildings pull it off without being conned off large sums of money by industry participants?
4. How do people like me go about building apartment blocks? Can I just hire a project manager to take me through the process from A to Z? I heard that some people hire the chinese or other construction companies with their specifications and pay in phases. Kindly shed some light.

I just want to educate myself. That's all. Much appreciated.


Allow me to add a small piece to the good advice you have already received from our village elder, MM.

In this village of Wazua, there is a young man who rejoices by the name Penny Stocker (Dr Penny Stocker, to be precise). He has done wonders in real estate...papa hapa, watu wakiona tu. He started exactly where you are and he is very generous with information. If you can get even one hour of Penny Stockers time it will be worth it, I promise you.Start by reading his thread.

Good luck.
"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth." (Niels Bohr)
Jon Jones
#6 Posted : Monday, July 06, 2020 7:16:14 PM
Rank: Member


Joined: 9/11/2015
Posts: 142
Location: Thika
Wakanyugi wrote:
Jon Jones wrote:
I have some questions and I believe that wazua is one of the places where landlords are. I don't know much about construction, so give me some rope.
1. How long does it take to build a 5-storey building, assuming that the funds are available in full and land is already purchased?
2. For someone without a background in construction, how much can one truly "save"? Are the financial savings worth the wait??
3. How stressful/stress-free is the process? How complicated is the process? Can a person like me with zero knowledge about buildings pull it off without being conned off large sums of money by industry participants?
4. How do people like me go about building apartment blocks? Can I just hire a project manager to take me through the process from A to Z? I heard that some people hire the chinese or other construction companies with their specifications and pay in phases. Kindly shed some light.

I just want to educate myself. That's all. Much appreciated.


Allow me to add a small piece to the good advice you have already received from our village elder, MM.

In this village of Wazua, there is a young man who rejoices by the name Penny Stocker (Dr Penny Stocker, to be precise). He has done wonders in real estate...papa hapa, watu wakiona tu. He started exactly where you are and he is very generous with information. If you can get even one hour of Penny Stockers time it will be worth it, I promise you.Start by reading his thread.

Good luck.

Sure. I began by reading both of his threads. Certainly an above par man. Personally, I am in my late twenties and could learn a great deal from him.
Since men have learned to shoot without missing, I have learned to fly without perching
tinker
#7 Posted : Monday, July 06, 2020 7:47:36 PM
Rank: Member


Joined: 11/15/2010
Posts: 413
Location: Nairobi
Jon Jones wrote:
Wakanyugi wrote:
Jon Jones wrote:
I have some questions and I believe that wazua is one of the places where landlords are. I don't know much about construction, so give me some rope.
1. How long does it take to build a 5-storey building, assuming that the funds are available in full and land is already purchased?
2. For someone without a background in construction, how much can one truly "save"? Are the financial savings worth the wait??
3. How stressful/stress-free is the process? How complicated is the process? Can a person like me with zero knowledge about buildings pull it off without being conned off large sums of money by industry participants?
4. How do people like me go about building apartment blocks? Can I just hire a project manager to take me through the process from A to Z? I heard that some people hire the chinese or other construction companies with their specifications and pay in phases. Kindly shed some light.

I just want to educate myself. That's all. Much appreciated.


Allow me to add a small piece to the good advice you have already received from our village elder, MM.

In this village of Wazua, there is a young man who rejoices by the name Penny Stocker (Dr Penny Stocker, to be precise). He has done wonders in real estate...papa hapa, watu wakiona tu. He started exactly where you are and he is very generous with information. If you can get even one hour of Penny Stockers time it will be worth it, I promise you.Start by reading his thread.

Good luck.

Sure. I began by reading both of his threads. Certainly an above par man. Personally, I am in my late twenties and could learn a great deal from him.


Twenties and you are planning to build a 5-storey building. Respect/Hat-off.
....He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion..
Mkimwa
#8 Posted : Tuesday, July 07, 2020 2:37:24 PM
Rank: Member


Joined: 10/26/2008
Posts: 379
1. You will learn so much on construction, if you get your hands dirty.
2. Get a reliable/honest foreman and a reliable storekeeper. This will reduce your cost of pilferage by a huge percentage.
3. At the end of the day, its your apartment. You decide what is best for you, what quality you want, what materials to use.
4. Get a professional to help you along the way - be it an architect, structural engineer, someone who has done it before. It will save you some silly mistakes which as a layman you will definitely make if not well guided.

I find it sad that most professionals who have a good day job rely on quack fundis for advice, on what to do, what to buy - yet those fundis only speak out of experience, and sometimes their experience is very shallow.

5. Don't build by proxy or via telephone, if you have the time. Be on the ground, try and source materials from different suppliers before settling on a supplier.

6. Some jobs will be subcontracted. Learn the art of subcontracting and managing cashflows, and demanding quality.

Most fundis will take the shortest way out, if it means they save a few hours or coins while doing it.

A 5 story building on 1/8th of an acre can take 1 year (assuming all cash is available). If its a 5 story building on a larger piece of land - then it will take longer.

It is not a hustle free process. It will take you to hell and back sometimes. But when it is done, you will itch for the next project. Whether you hire a contractor or not, your personal touch is key. It shapes the project, hence you cannot be hands off.

Saving is in terms of:
1. Materials.
Shop shop shop. Negotiate Negotiate. Understand the difference in quality of different materials and determine whether they are worth the extra coin for perceived quality.
Most shops tend to sell the same things/brands, hence its easy to do like for like comparison.
Work with reputable hardware shops that are reliable.
2. Ask questions, until you are satisfied. This enables you to learn why things are being done in a certain way. Seek knowledge in different forums, people who have done it before. these will save you lots of money.
3. Time
Generally, building over a long time costs more than if you focussed and built over a short timespan. Will also reduce your costs of financing (if any)
4. Labour and subcontracting
Not the best way to save, but be vigilant on who you subcontract. Going for the cheapest subcontractors is not always the solution. Rather look at what they have done.
Subcontractors have a terrible habit of starting work, demanding for lot of money upfront, and then abandoning the work if it will cost them more than the remaining amount. therefore find a way of matching payments to work done (percentage of completion), and always withhold an amount which you pay when you are fully satisfied with their work.
5. Conmen
In construction, people have devised many ways of conning others. For example:
- Your hardware shop bills you for 50 bags of cement, but delivers 45, the remaining 5 is split between the shop, foreman and storekeeper.
- Ballast that is delivered with trucks that have a false bottom. They tell you they are delivering 15t of ballast, and from the look of it, the lorry is full to the brim. Only that it has a false bottom and thus carries only 12t.
- Be ware of people who come to site, promise to deliver items to site, and want an upfront payment. There are soo many brokers who are trying to take your hard earned coin. Therefore - only pay when something has been delivered to site.
- Managing labour - if you are doing daily fundis, there are fundis who appear during paytime at 5pm, yet they were working at the neighbours.

There are Pitfalls at every stage, and if dealing with these is not for you - get a trusted contractor to manage these and many more.

Either way, you pay for it either in terms of time, effort or actual cash.

But it is doable, very doable.

Do your research on what kind of apartments to do for your location. Ultimately, that building will outlive you, and there are some mistakes that can never be corrected.


Jon Jones wrote:
I have some questions and I believe that wazua is one of the places where landlords are. I don't know much about construction, so give me some rope.
1. How long does it take to build a 5-storey building, assuming that the funds are available in full and land is already purchased?
2. For someone without a background in construction, how much can one truly "save"? Are the financial savings worth the wait??
3. How stressful/stress-free is the process? How complicated is the process? Can a person like me with zero knowledge about buildings pull it off without being conned off large sums of money by industry participants?
4. How do people like me go about building apartment blocks? Can I just hire a project manager to take me through the process from A to Z? I heard that some people hire the chinese or other construction companies with their specifications and pay in phases. Kindly shed some light.

I just want to educate myself. That's all. Much appreciated.


amorphous
#9 Posted : Tuesday, July 07, 2020 6:20:50 PM
Rank: Member


Joined: 5/15/2019
Posts: 371
Location: planet earth
Mkimwa wrote:
1. You will learn so much on construction, if you get your hands dirty.
2. Get a reliable/honest foreman and a reliable storekeeper. This will reduce your cost of pilferage by a huge percentage.
3. At the end of the day, its your apartment. You decide what is best for you, what quality you want, what materials to use.
4. Get a professional to help you along the way - be it an architect, structural engineer, someone who has done it before. It will save you some silly mistakes which as a layman you will definitely make if not well guided.

I find it sad that most professionals who have a good day job rely on quack fundis for advice, on what to do, what to buy - yet those fundis only speak out of experience, and sometimes their experience is very shallow.

5. Don't build by proxy or via telephone, if you have the time. Be on the ground, try and source materials from different suppliers before settling on a supplier.

6. Some jobs will be subcontracted. Learn the art of subcontracting and managing cashflows, and demanding quality.

Most fundis will take the shortest way out, if it means they save a few hours or coins while doing it.

A 5 story building on 1/8th of an acre can take 1 year (assuming all cash is available). If its a 5 story building on a larger piece of land - then it will take longer.

It is not a hustle free process. It will take you to hell and back sometimes. But when it is done, you will itch for the next project. Whether you hire a contractor or not, your personal touch is key. It shapes the project, hence you cannot be hands off.

Saving is in terms of:
1. Materials.
Shop shop shop. Negotiate Negotiate. Understand the difference in quality of different materials and determine whether they are worth the extra coin for perceived quality.
Most shops tend to sell the same things/brands, hence its easy to do like for like comparison.
Work with reputable hardware shops that are reliable.
2. Ask questions, until you are satisfied. This enables you to learn why things are being done in a certain way. Seek knowledge in different forums, people who have done it before. these will save you lots of money.
3. Time
Generally, building over a long time costs more than if you focussed and built over a short timespan. Will also reduce your costs of financing (if any)
4. Labour and subcontracting
Not the best way to save, but be vigilant on who you subcontract. Going for the cheapest subcontractors is not always the solution. Rather look at what they have done.
Subcontractors have a terrible habit of starting work, demanding for lot of money upfront, and then abandoning the work if it will cost them more than the remaining amount. therefore find a way of matching payments to work done (percentage of completion), and always withhold an amount which you pay when you are fully satisfied with their work.
5. Conmen
In construction, people have devised many ways of conning others. For example:
- Your hardware shop bills you for 50 bags of cement, but delivers 45, the remaining 5 is split between the shop, foreman and storekeeper.
- Ballast that is delivered with trucks that have a false bottom. They tell you they are delivering 15t of ballast, and from the look of it, the lorry is full to the brim. Only that it has a false bottom and thus carries only 12t.
- Be ware of people who come to site, promise to deliver items to site, and want an upfront payment. There are soo many brokers who are trying to take your hard earned coin. Therefore - only pay when something has been delivered to site.
- Managing labour - if you are doing daily fundis, there are fundis who appear during paytime at 5pm, yet they were working at the neighbours.

There are Pitfalls at every stage, and if dealing with these is not for you - get a trusted contractor to manage these and many more.

Either way, you pay for it either in terms of time, effort or actual cash.

But it is doable, very doable.

Do your research on what kind of apartments to do for your location. Ultimately, that building will outlive you, and there are some mistakes that can never be corrected.


Jon Jones wrote:
I have some questions and I believe that wazua is one of the places where landlords are. I don't know much about construction, so give me some rope.
1. How long does it take to build a 5-storey building, assuming that the funds are available in full and land is already purchased?
2. For someone without a background in construction, how much can one truly "save"? Are the financial savings worth the wait??
3. How stressful/stress-free is the process? How complicated is the process? Can a person like me with zero knowledge about buildings pull it off without being conned off large sums of money by industry participants?
4. How do people like me go about building apartment blocks? Can I just hire a project manager to take me through the process from A to Z? I heard that some people hire the chinese or other construction companies with their specifications and pay in phases. Kindly shed some light.

I just want to educate myself. That's all. Much appreciated.




Great tips but does an honest foreman or storekeeper still exist in this here Kiinya? Not in my experience.
They will steal upende usipende. Kukuliwa kiasi is inevitable, and unless someone is on site 24/7 atakuliwa HUGE. I am always on site 24/7 when any activity is ongoing at any specific project and THEY STILL STEAL. Managing the foreman is the biggest task. I am my own storekeeper. I sometimes caught him RED HANDED stealing but did not raise the issue with him because he was doing an otherwise excellent quality job for a decent price so a few crumbs stolen do not matter. But if I was ati to leave him on site and go to a day job and hope all will flow smoothly? =>> Laughing out loudly Laughing out loudly Laughing out loudly Not going to happen! But that is just me.
Emotions and ego are twin enemies of strategy
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