Designing house plans in Kenya requires building professionals to apply certain standards applicable when building in Kenya. Local authorities often have stipulations or guidance relating to building and site requirements (e.g. regarding frontages, wayleaves, road widths and construction materials, etc.) Usually these have to be promoted through various planning departments, though their relevance of some of these regulations have been questioned by developers  building in Kenya.

house plans in Kenya for kenyan architectNevertheless, Kenyan architects as well as planners require taking cognizance of these elements in the creation of housing designs that are sustainable and functional. A few of vital elements that are considered by municipal authorities are listed as follows.

 Privacy: public and private spaces in house plans in Kenya

Among the most difficult challenges in creating house plans in Kenya is striking the right balance between the need for privacy and the need to avoid social exclusion. The balance obviously varies according to individual character, temperament and age so no perfect solution is possible, but good layouts will at least allow some degree of individual choice. Designs which opt too strongly for either a social or private approach may not satisfy the majority of residents.


In designing house plans in Kenya, dwellings opening directly onto busy public spaces and access decks designed to encourage social contact and neighborliness may also suffer intolerable intrusion, while screening designed to provide defensible space may result in roads and footpaths bounded by blank walls and fences. Either approach can to lead to feelings of insecurity and dissatisfaction amongst residents.

In high-density house plans in Kenya though, user satisfaction is likely to be enhanced, and the incidence of vandalism reduced by sub-division of large anonymous public areas into smaller spaces related to identifiable groups of dwellings. For houses, a public access road may lead to a mixed-use pedestrian – vehicle court, with psychologically restricted entry, related to a group of 20 or so houses and then to a further transition zone provided by a front garden to each individual house. For flats typologies, the transition can be by through semi-private lobby zone.


Interrelationships between Buildings on House Plans in Kenya

Daylight and sunlight influence on house plans in Kenya

One should consult relevant regulations for daylighting standards in habitable rooms; these also provide for the protection of residential buildings and undeveloped sites from obstruction of daylight by new development. A proposed building can be tested for both distance from its own boundary and distance from other buildings by using permissible height indicators.

So far as possible, principal rooms should receive sunlight at some part of day throughout most of year but this not generally enforced by regulations or development control. Angles and direction of sunlight can be established hourly for any time of year at any latitude.

Private open space to be incorporated in house plans in Kenya

All dwellings, and particularly those for families, require some kind of related open space – whether garden, patio or balcony – which is sunny and sheltered from wind. It should ideally be large enough to allow space for clothes drying, toddlers’ play, out-door hobbies and sitting out.

An enclosed garden enhances privacy. Walls, hedges and, to a lesser extent, trees can provide natural protection from noise, wind and dust. It is an advantage if a private garden can open out of the living area, providing an outdoors extension of the living space. The best locations are generally on the south and west sides, but an enclosed garden on the north side can provide a sunlit view if deep enough.


Visual privacy to be designed for.

Many planning authorities seek to prevent houses being overlooked from neighbouring houses or across the road. Some rule of thumb minimum distances to enable this includes that architects should provide of 18 feet in front of dwellings and at least 20 feet at the rear. These distances are often stated but this is restrictive and ineffective since visibility is affected by the types of windows involved and their respective levels, and the incidence to one another – for instance, for diagonal sight-lines, distances can be reduced to 10m.


As with other environmental factors privacy must be considered in relation to competing benefits.  In high- density developments it is a matter for careful consideration in design and layout.


Privacy from noise

Houses built near distributor roads, or main highways are best protected from noise nuisance by embankments or other land formations. Privacy can however, be improved by use of suitable house plans with rooms facing away from noise sources. There is increasing realisation that noise is a growing problem, either from sources within or externally.

Best practice recommendations are that living rooms and bedrooms should be orientated away from footpaths and vehicle areas, and especially sources of noise. The problem of aircraft noise is very difficult to alleviate: although engines are becoming quieter,flight frequencies have increased around residential areas.

Use of blind side or single-aspect house designs will help (e.g. on sloping sites or where footpaths pass close to houses) and effective screening of private gardens is also important. However, privacy should not be achieved at the cost of isolation, and ideally a degree of screening for visual privacy should be within the control of residents.


Fire safety is a major aspect of designing house plans in Kenya


Building regulations generally restrict distances between dwellings built of combustible materials. Materials that are in this category are such as timber, shingles or thatch. They are required to be utilized within their own plot boundaries. Where non-combustible materials are used, the extent of window and door openings in walls close to a boundary might be restricted to prevent the spread of fire to adjoining property by radiation.


The incorporation of these factors in the creation of house plans in Kenya are vital ingredients to ensure the success of any kind of residential development.