The one-stop construction and interior design firm

Harriet James talks to Karte Mugo, director, Modular Interiors and Ikulu Homes about their family-owned building contractor and interior design services outfit

What inspired you to start these firms?

Modular is a family company. Our late father was in construction for 27 years, so for us his children, we developed an early interest in the sector. My elder brother is an architect, so we decided to start an interior design firm. My knowledge of Business Administration and years of experience in marketing as well as project planning and management helped.  We began with designing interiors of the buildings, but by 2003, we had developed into a construction firm. Some 15 years later, it’s hard to ignore our  projects.

What is Modular Interiors all about and what are some of its objectives?

Modular Interiors provides an integrated interior design and construction solutions to corporate and individual clients who are relocating, refurbishing or constructing new premises. We provide the required services from designing to building of interior space. We manage projects from the first step to handing over of the keys, thus minimising the risk of multiple suppliers.

What are some of the developments you have been involved in?

The company works with real estate developers, property agents, banks, architects, quantity surveyors, hotels, corporate offices and call centres, among others. Our projects include Co-operative Bank Nacico branch, Mavuno Church in Athi River, Bajaj Motorcyles, Waumini House, Kilimani Junior Academy, Parapet Cleaning Services, Presidential Awards Scheme and Kukuyetu Restaurant. We have also built apartments in Ngong, Loresho and Karen.

Tell us about Ikulu Homes.

Ikulu Homes is our new product that has the tagline Mjengo Bila Stress; Your Land, Our Build, Your Home.  We plan to set new standards in design and creativity in that our clients can choose from our professional designs put together by a team of talented architects.  The company prides itself on designing beautiful homes, but being able to live there is what makes it a home.  Ikulu gives various housing solutions that are affordable and practical.  We handle the entire process from design conception to building completion.

The clients offer the land and Ikulu builds the house. We create five-design sketches for the would-be homeowners to choose what their new home will look like. These designs are tailored to provide not only elegance and style but comfort and practicality. You can be the owner of your palace, wherever your land is located and begin your dream.

How much does it cost to building a home for a client?

An imperial two-bedroom bungalow costs Sh2.95 million, a grand three-bedroom bungalow about Sh3.95 million and a majestic home four-bedroom bungalow Sh4.95 million. Ikulu offers to build for you three-bedroom maisonette at Sh5.95 million while four bedroomed maisonette costs Sh6.95 million.

It should not take you five years to build a home. A two-bedroom house from foundation to the final detail will take Ikulu Homes 120 days after all county approvals have been secured. For this to happen, the client must be cash-ready, as this is a major reason why construction projects delay.

We have various experts including architects, suppliers, builders, and construction managers, quantity surveyors, among others, well trained to handle the project. A soon to be launched App will help clients monitor the progress of construction from various location by the use of solar-powered cameras on different sites around the country.

What is the advantage of clients using you to build their home?

After the client has provided the land and money for the building and signed the contract, Ikulu takes care of the rest of the process. The client will not have to engage with an architect, engineer the Lands office or even go to a quarry to buy stones. Mjengo bila stress is what Ikulu homes offers to their clients. Compared to building the home yourself, Ikulu will help you to save up to more than 50 per cent of construction time and good savings on your budget.

What challenges do you face?

Some clients are also stubborn in paying after the completion of the job. Also, it is costly to buy safety materials to be used on site by our builders, such as helmets safety boots and insurance cover. Last year was tough because of the electioneering period, but we remained strong though many construction firms were affected. There are also many quacks in this industry.

In general, the industry grapples with constant increases in project costs due to rises of prices of building materials such as steel and cement. Another challenge is the conservative measures taken by banks in giving loans to the constructors industry.

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