Kenyans seek to gain modern technical knowledge from foreigners as the government’s Big Four agenda on affordable housing offers immense opportunities
Milliam Murigi @millymur1
Aluminum formwork and E-foam Insulation Systems ranked among the most popular stalls as curtains came down on Kenya’s second National Construction Week at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.
The week incorporated the International Construction Research Conference and Exhibition (ICoRCE) official conference organised by the National Construction Authority (NCA) and The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2018, an expo organised by DMG Events.
Overall, industry stakeholders are optimistic about the sector come 2019. So they focused on new building and construction technologies during what was easily one of the region’s biggest building and construction shows. The aim of the event was to promote and uplift the construction industry in Kenya.
“This event is critical to the industry calendar, allowing us to highlight innovative solutions to existing gaps, which will continue to propel the economy even higher,” said Prof Paul Maringa, Principal Secretary State Department of Public Works during the official launch.
The conference was being held as the market continues to recoup losses from the effects of the long electioneering period last year.
This year, several construction firms have had to keep innovating by coming up with new products to stay on top of the changing tastes of the increasingly tech-savvy consumers.
Dubai Investments, a leading diversified investment company listed on the Dubai financial markets, attracted a big percentage of delegates.
A good number of delegates trooped to the Emirates Building Systems stand to see structural steel, pre-engineered building, building subsystems, and steel decking products.
Another stall manned by Emirates Extruded Polystyrene also drew in the construction crowds. They were displaying building insulation products including E-Roof, E-Wall and E-Floor insulation. These products play a major role in energy conservation programmes.
For instance, continuously increasing energy cost and accessibility problems emphasize the need for immediate energy conservation in all 47 counties.
“These products play a great role in the market because the best way to efficiently save energy is to improve the thermal insulation of buildings to protect heat transfer.
This is particularly important in hot climates where the power demand to cool the homes, offices and shopping complexes is high,” said Tarek Mohamed, acting sales manager, Emirates Extrusions Factory.
Another stand crowded by delegates was Kumkang Kind East Africa, whose mother company is based in South Korea. The firm was exhibiting its latest aluminium formwork systems made from high strength aluminium extrusion to allow large but lightweight panels.
The formworks produce an unbeatable concrete finishing, which does not require plastering and eliminates grinding task due to joint created by panels.
Moreover, the formworks allow an average of four to seven days cycle compared to 14 to 30 days cycle with the conventional method, thus reducing the construction period and costs.
“Unlike the conventional and steel framework which must be thrown away after less than 50 repetitions, aluminium formwork can last for over 300 repetitions. Furthermore, after those repetitions, the panels can be recycled thus no harm created to the environment and produce less site wastage,” said Sam Muhia, Kumkang Kind East Africa business Development Manager.
According to Muhammed Kazi, DMG Events Portifolio Director, the aim of bringing international exhibitors was to bring new technologies and innovations to Kenya as a way of supporting the Big Four Agenda, especially construction of affordable homes. “Our theme this year, Technology
Development, captures the tone of construction in Kenya. Our exhibitors are eager to work with local firms to meet the ambitious building demands across the nation,” said Kazi.
However, developers need to embrace technology to realise the said growth. “In Kenya, there is a huge construction demand, especially for affordable houses and this will be achieved if the developers use the emerging technologies to reduce the cost of production which is currently the biggest challenge facing this sector,” said Kazi.
The free access event brought over 220 exhibitors from more than 33 countries to showcase the latest building innovations and products to the local market.