Kenyans Break Down Cost of Designing Permanent House: “Could Go to KSh 300k Based on Size”

  • The Kenya National Construction Authority (KNCA) sets building standards which architects should consider before planning a house
  • There have been incidents of house collapse resulting from poor designs employed by investors
  • Kenyans took to social media to analyze the cost of standard design work conducted by qualified architects
  • Adrian Gachewa – a graduate architect – revealed that a good design cost up to 6% of the construction cost and depends on the house size

Kenyans have shared their experience with the cost of designing a standard permanent house for residential and commercial purposes.

A house design should be approved and stamped.
A flat-roof house is completed and ready. Photo: House Design Kenya.
Source: Twitter

The Kenya National Construction Authority (KNCA) requires all buildings to meet the set standards to avoid incidents of collapse caused by shortcuts in design.

House design and construction costs in Kenya

Responding to a post on a Facebook group Dream House and Building forum, Kenyans broke down the cost of a house design to a maximum of KSh 300,000.

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“What is the cost of designing a three-bedroom or a flat, respectively,” read the post from the group.

The majority said that it could cost to a minimum amount of between KSh 25,000 to KSh 50,000, depending on house size.

Arch Samuel Opili said;

“The approved one goes for KSh 30,000, inclusive of the required certifications.”

Archbuild Lawrence wrote;

“KSh 80,000 for Architectural drawing, KSh 100,000 for Structural drawing and KSh 30,000 for the Bill of Quantity (BOQ).”

House design standard requirements

Ra Hotep Kemetian noted;

“I think the charges are very affordable. The reason they appear expensive is because people assume that designing spaces is easy and they can do it themselves, so why pay an architect.”

In an exclusive interview with Gachewa – a graduate architect – said that the regulations in place require an architect, who is the designer, to get 6% of the total design cost.

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Gachewa noted the percentage cost applies to licensed and experienced architects and covers the design, as well as other tasks that the architect performs during the project.

The tasks undertaken by the architect include coordinating with other parties involved, monitoring and approving the different works on site to ensure that they comply with the building standards.

“For a four-bedroom bungalow project that costs around KSh 5 million, for example, a licensed architect would charge upwards of KSh 300,000 for the job, plus a design stamp fee of about KSh 5,000,” said Gachewa.

Gachewa said the cost is high due to increased construction costs, but worth it, as it gives them customized and optimized design based on safety standards and quality.

In 2023, the average construction cost in Kenya was estimated from KSh 41,600 per square meter to KSh 100,800 per square meter, Integrum wrote.

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Unemployed Kenyan graduate architects saving the day

However, the architect noted that most clients, especially private home investors, leverage the services of unlicensed architects to make their construction costs affordable.

“Since there are those architects who are not licensed yet, such as us graduate architects, who can do the design at cheaper rates, the prices can be negotiable.

“For a house that costs KSh 5 million to build, I can design it for KSh 60,000, which is slightly above 1% of the total cost, making it very affordable for the client. You will be right to assume that a 1-4 % of the total cost is what you can pay for the design, regardless of the house type.

He said graduate architects awaiting regulatory license provide cheaper designs that are almost of similar quality to that of a licensed architect.

Gachewa revealed a house of about KSh 3 million in construction costs, its design costs range between KSh 35,000 to KSh 40,000, while a KSh 10 million house project, could cost between KSh 140,000 to KSh 200,000.

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“The bottom line is that the cost of design goes hand in hand with the cost of the project. An expensive project, a high-end one, will attract a higher cost than a casual project.

“If an architect quotes such rates you can be sure they are cheaper. As long as you ascertain, they have studied design and they should be able to work with you to produce a very good design that is functionally sound and aesthetically pleasing,” he advised.

Cost of building 2-bedroom house

In related news, reported about a Kakamega man who took to social media asking for advice on building a two-bedroom house with KSh 350,000.

Kenyans commended his move, saying it is possible to build depending on the kind of construction materials to be used.

Kevin Jumba advised both the Facebook post;

“It will depend on materials if you are using bricks, then make your own… have your own trees for timba, thirdly check on the roofing design.. the complicated design, the more iron sheets.

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