Property developers in Nairobi have increased uptake of ready-mix concrete to cope with the fall in the number of workers allowed on-site due to strict Covid-19 prevention guidelines.
Concrete suppliers say that developers of both large and small projects are looking to ensure that the reduction in the number of workers allowed on site does not hamper the strict timelines they have been given to complete their projects.
Manual concrete mixing and pouring is one of the most labour intensive and time consuming tasks on a building site, accounting for a large number of workers.
The government’s Covid-19 prevention measures, which include stipulations on social distancing in workplaces, have meant that construction sites have to reduce the number of workers, thus risking missing contract timelines.
“When you have a contract signed, deadlines must be met while maintaining Covid-19 protocols. This means even small contractors handling small residential projects are turning to ready-mix products,” said Solomon Wangai, the chief executive of building material supplier Rhombus Concrete.
Developers of residential houses in densely built-up areas also prefer to use ready-mix building material due to lack of storage and space to mix concrete on site, which necessitated adoption of mechanised concrete production.
The construction sector has, however fared better than many others during the Covid-19 pandemic period, largely due to the long- term nature of the existing building contracts, even though developers have reported slower flow of new projects.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics showed that cement consumption in the first seven months of the year rose 4.5 percent to 3.59 million tonnes from 3.44 million tonnes posted in the corresponding period last year.
This contrasts with other indicators in the property market like rent, home prices and land costs—which have been subdued by the reduced economic activities in the wake of the pandemic.
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