Construction of houses in Kenya is a process that involves several parties who form a consortium. The process starts with the client conceiving a brief and communicates with the architect. The architect synthesizes the client’s requirements to ascertain their viability and feasibility. Once ascertained, the design of the house commences and construction estimates prepared by the quantity surveyor to be used in the tendering process. Some of the parties involved include; architect, quantity surveyor, the client (employer), contractor, subcontractors, suppliers, structural and service engineers among others. Depending on the size of the project, a project manager may be involved or not.
With regard to the existing treads in the housing market, it is of the essence to have house or property managers. In our Kenyan market, house managers also referred to as agents play a vital role in supervising the property. The following are some of the parties involved in house construction.
- The client is the employer who remunerates all other parties. He is the owner or the ultimate beneficiary of the project.
- Furnishes the architect with a project brief, which contains the location of the site, estimated budget, use of the project, taste and preference, time-lines for the project and any other relevant information about the project.
- In the construction of houses, the client caters for any expense/costs associated with the project
- Enters into a contract with all members of the consortium
- Upon completion of the project, the client receives an occupation certificate for the building use.
- Once construction of the house is completed, the client appoints the property manager who supervises the property and invites tenants through on-line house advertisement
- During the development process of the project, the client offers direction on any alterations to be made and material storage on site.
- The client may employ the project manager to oversee the construction work and provide management function on behalf of the client.
- The project manager is answerable to the client in case of any query raised by the client regarding the project
- The project manager also inspects on material quality and artistry to ensure its in accordance with specifications.
- The construction of houses cannot be effective without an architect. At the initial design stage, the architect prepares sketch drawings that enable the quantity surveyor to prepare preliminary estimates to ensure that the final drawing falls within the client’s budget
- Produces contract drawings used during the tendering process and in entering the contract with other parties.
- During the construction process, the architect monitors the execution of the contractor through the clerk of works as his representative.
- Furnishes the contractor with required construction details especially in the traditional procurement system.
- Six months after the practical completion of the project, the architect issues the contractor with the certificate of making good defects, and issue a certificate of completion
- The landscape architect may be involved as a sub-consultant employed by the architect to offer landscaping services on the site, in such a case the landscaper works under the architect and the contractual relationship is between them. Compensation is done to the landscaper without the consent of the client once the work is complete (although the client is involved indirectly).
- Similarly, Interior designers may be employed by the architect as sub-consultants to provide aesthetic services to building interiors. In this case, the contract will be between the architect and interior designer without the knowledge of the client
Quantity surveyor (Qs)
- In the construction of houses, the Qs offers the client with cost-related knowledge at the initial stage of construction, Qs advice the client on the best investment to make to maximize on resource use.
- Prepares preliminary estimates from the sketch up drawings provided by the architect
- Prepares bill of quantities and specifications, which forms part of the contract documents.
- Advise the client on the best procurement system to employ.
- Settles any disputes that may arise during the construction process especially those related to payments and contract violation
- Prepares variation forms and approves contractor’s claim forms, carries computation on the amount to be retained as per the contract
- Monitors the construction costs to ensure they are within the initial estimates and inform the client in case of projected cost overrun
- Computes the adjustments to be made on the final account and issue the contractor with payment certificate once reimbursement takes place.
- Qs Enters into a direct contract with the client and offer professional services relating to finance for the well being of the project. In other cases, the Qs may be employed by the contractor under the contractor’s conditions.
- Furnishes the contractor with necessary structural drawings as well as construction details
- Provides specifications for the structural materials used and the workmanship involved
- Inspects the construction process to ensure the contractor adheres to the given structural drawings so as not to compromise with the building strength
- In case of any alteration in the structural design, the structural engineer informs the architect to assess the effect on the use of functional units and the Quantity surveyor to assess the cost implication
Service engineers (mechanical & electrical engineers)
- Provides specifications and drawings to the contractor.
- In the case where the subcontractor is appointed by the client through the architect, the nominated subcontractor enters into a contract with the client. In each case, a prime cost sum is provided for these services.
- Modifies the architect’s drawing with the service lines indicating fittings to be installed during construction of houses.
- Inspects the work to ensure the contractor adheres to the service drawings.
- Electrical and mechanical engineer advice on precautions to be taken during the installation of services
In most cases the service engineers enter into a contract directly with the client. Thus they fall in the same hierarchy level with other professionals
- Respond to a tender invitation by bidding for the work and submitting the bid proposal
- Carries out site inspection and investigations to ascertain all factors that may cause cost overrun
- During the tendering process, the contractor fills the unpriced bill of quantities.
- Assembles all necessary tools, labor, and equipment to be used in the construction process once awarded the tender
- The contractor is responsible for the safety of workers and the general public during the project development process
- Executes all works as per the drawings and specifications provided
- Prepares a claim form resulting from works that were not costed in the bill of quantities, estimated through day works method or any other appropriate method
- Takes responsibility for any defects arising during the defect liability period and bears the maintenance and repair costs
- Receives completion certificate and final account indicating payments done
The contractual relationship depends on the procurement system employed. For instance, in traditional procurement system, the contractor is answerable to the architect who later communicates to the client. On the other hand, the contractor enters into a direct contract with the client in design and builds. The subcontractors respond to the main contractor, and they have to adhere to the contract.