Have you ever seen commercial buildings in Kenya being constructed, then seen them collapse or be condemned as a structurally unsound building? Worse still seeing a building becoming a structural hazard after it has been completed and occupied? Can you imagine the anguish of the developer who has sunk their money into such a huge financial investment as is a real estate project, then watch the investment vanish in smoke due to structural failure. Such is the fate of attempting to construct a building with no proper thought to its structural design. Even the slightest failure to one part of a building’s structure is an immediate dent to the entire building’s reputation.
Get a good architect for the design of your commercial buildings in Kenya
Of course the collapsing of a building is one of the more extreme cases that can happen to a developer. The thought of being held legally accountable for possible loss of life and property is one of those things that a developer does not want to experience. However to a lesser extent, there are many builders who have found themselves being caught up in repairs of structural cracks to their buildings due to many reasons. Even external elements such as the building’s finishes are affected through the building’s structure, whether externally or internally. The example of the Rahimtulla building in Upperhill which has witnessed the failure of its very expensive external curtain envelope a couple of years after its development is one such example.
The beauty of construction of a commercial building in Kenya is watching it grow from inception, to becoming a very real edifice on the ground. The whole process of the construction is an intricate affair, but the reward for the client is seeing it being occupied as a viable real estate development. For the architect, watching the creation that he has come up with becoming a reality in the built environment, and especially a beautiful one at that, that is a wonderful feeling. The stability of the building though is one of those things that must be taken care of long before everyone gets to experience their sense of satisfaction. And this begins right at the foundation level.
Choice of structure for a commercial buildings in Kenya is key for its success as a real estate project
So why is it necessary to employ the right type of foundation for your commercial building? Sounds like no brainer, but it does play a big part in the construction of your building in Kenya. There are many kinds of foundations one can employ on a building, and the vital thing is to get the right one for you. The structural engineer and architect work together to decide the most economical foundation that would be applied to the building. Perhaps the building is located within a swampy area. Or perhaps it is located in an area with lots of black cotton soil which is wholly unsuitable for construction. Your consultants will advise you on which is the best way to go.
At times you may find doing too much earth movement is unsuitable for the construction process from an economic standpoint. At moments like this, it is important to embrace other techniques of building such as the use of piles with suspended ground slabs, or perhaps making use of raft like foundations that will permit the building to ‘float’ on top of unsatisfactory sub structural conditions. The math needs to be done right before adopting these kinds of solutions as one needs to be absolutely sure that the cost benefit analysis of going this way favors this rather than the good old excavate and cart away method.
Whichever the route your building shall take you, it is a good idea to get proper building advice first from your architect, prior to getting advice from the structural engineer. The architect is the one who probably shall come to your site first and offer preliminary analysis on your project, including what are the likely types of foundations to start to consider, even before getting to detailed construction design.
Appropriate structural design for your commercial buildings in Kenya shall save you money
Developing a commercial building in Kenya has its many intricacies. Due to the need for the building to have optimal spans and provisions to allow adequate commercial space within the building, one must choose a structural system that will work with your building. If you need to have wide open spaces, for example for showrooms and banking halls, one needs to choose a structural system that permits wide open areas. The need for basement parking for example will dictate certain sized grids that are optimum for parking vehicles in basement of a building. This may dictate the type of grid that goes all the way to the top, unless you have spectacular structural design interventions that allow you to change structural grids as you go up the building.
Steel construction is a great option for wide span construction, but due to its rather prohibitive cost in the Kenyan scenario, there may be a challenge doing a whole building using structural steel construction. Reinforced concrete is most often the most cost effective solution, but has its challenges with construction time.
Which introduces another important element in construction of your commercial buildings in Kenya, the issue of cost of construction. Probably one of the biggest factors on your bottom line is cost of financing, which is directly tied to your interest rates over time. Time is a big issue. The cost of your money as affected by time may dictate that you opt for a quicker albeit more expensive type of construction that will allow you to save on time of construction. One needs to be open minded and work with the best option for their situation. Get in touch with us as Kenyan architects who will provide you with guidance on which is the best means of constructing your commercial building in Kenya.