Construction Costs in Kenya, Some Insights

What are the construction costs for my house? A gentleman who came across my company website,, picks up my email address and sends me an email attaching the picture above. The one-liner, “What will it cost to build a house like this in Mombasa?

I make a brief two-word response, “What size?” He then responds, “Sorry, I am not sure about the size. Please make it medium size and let me know the building costs.” I do not respond immediately and after a few hours, he writes again, “The size is to be 200 square metres. What will be the cost?“. I┬áreply, “Between Kshs 6 Million and Kshs 7 Million.” Within minutes, he writes again, “Is this inclusive of price of land?” I respond, “No. Just the house.

The construction costs of a house seems to be the main concern to everyone who has entertained the idea of building one. It is the first question that most of my clients ask, some even before they have given me a brief of exactly what it is they want to construct.

Ideally, the construction costs for a house should be established after a house has been designed and the space arrangement and sizes established. It must be clear what materials and, more importantly, finishes will be used and applied from the foundation all the way to the roof and interiors of the house. These two items, SIZE and MATERIAL/FINISHES specifications are the determinants of costs of building a house.

Other determining factors include the type of building, its location, wall to floor ratio, floor to ceiling heights, site topography, types of joinery and fittings, and quality of electrical and mechanical installations.

The easiest way to estimate the construction costs for your house is by consulting someone else who has recently built something like what you would want to put up in both size and quality. Its easy to strike such a coincidence in housing projects since they are all similar in size, space provision and finishes. For other types of buildings however, it is difficult to get someone with exactly the same as what you may want.

For such, the Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya has developed some guidelines for the major towns, picked up recently completed projects, measured their sizes in square metres and established their actual construction costs. They then calculated the rate of construction per square metre which, if multiplied by the desired size of project, would give a fairly accurate indication of the estimated construction costs. This cost is inclusive from foundation to finishes but generally exclude site works which may vary greatly even in projects that are similar in space provisions.

The rates are for Mombasa and Nairobi and would generally cover nearby surrounding areas. The could be slightly higher in more remote areas. They have also been specified for exactly what kind of building types they are, as the costs differ.

What you need to do is establish how big your building would be in square metres, then multiply that by the rate given.

Again, it is important to consult professionals to guide you on all these matters. This is just a guideline and should be taken just like that. We shall therefore not be responsible for any errors or losses and damage arising from reliance on this information without having directly contacted any professionals.

If you have any queries, feel free to contact me on telephone number 0722387110 or email

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