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11 Points to Consider when Planning for a Safe Room in Your House.

What are basic the function of a house? Shelter against external weather elements like cold, heat, rain, sun etc.A house also provides privacy and security against people who want to either steel your property or harm your family.

This article is about security of your family members specifically inside house, what happens when the thugs are determined to enter your house. What measure should you  have in place to safeguard you and you family?

A Safe Room is strong and fortified room in a house designed to protect you against people who want to harm you and your family. It’s designed to keep you safe as you wait for help to arrive. A safe room can be selected from any of the existing bedroom, especially if it is an afterthought i.e. in an already designed and built house. A safe room can also be included at the design stage of the house; this is the best option as the final room blends well with other rooms. With the safe room, the few people know about it the better…You have the option of telling the architect about the safe room at the design stage, it can be labeled as a bedroom, storage room etc.As the owner of the house you have the option of not mentioning the final use to your architect. The construction team will construct and complete the project hand over the key to you and then you look for security expert to advice and help you secure the house. You can also build the safe room yourself with workers from another far town. We know most of domestic robberies are done with help from inside the house. If you use a security firm to design and build your safe house, then insist on privacy and confidentiality agreement to secure the safe room.

Factors to consider when building a safe room.

The wall, should be very strong to resist fire for at least 4 hours; it should also withstand gun fire. A wall made of concrete, or double masonry wall can be used for walling the safe room.In case of fire, it should prevent smoke from permeating the safe-room.Meaning the door should be airtight. The wall can be built up to and touching the roof, with a ventilation window up on roof.

The door, of the safe room should be strong enough to resist gunfire or brute force. The door can be made of solid steel or solid concrete. The door should be hidden behind a wall unit or cupboard to confuse the intruder.

Door lock. Get a door lock that can only be operated from inside the safe-room, that way the intrude cannot open from outside.
The room should be windowless, this also reduces the weak points in the house and also it makes it very difficult for intruder or anybody to locate or position the room.A 10feet by10feet floor area can provide sufficient air for ten people and prevent carbon dioxide build up for up to five hours, so even without window or external air supply you can still survive. To be more comfortable you can build an air vent leading to a secret external point, that way you get supply of air from outside.

Sound. The safe-room should be sound proof; this can allow you to call for help silently.

Power back up. The safe room should have its own power back just in case the invaders disconnect the main power line.

Phone.In most cases when invaders strike, there is always panic and in most cases, you may run to the safe room without your mobile phone. Have a functioning mobile or landline in the safe room always. Check the phone to make sure its always in good working condition, the battery has charge and the network coverage is good in there.

Camera, You can hide CCTV camera in your house and have the control room in your safe-room, that way you can be able to see what the invaders are doing, that gives you much control of the situation.

First aid Kit. You maybe hurt or injured before accessing the safe room, if you manage to enter the safe room, then you will need first aid.

Food-supply.Because you don’t know the duration of your stay in the safe room, it may be important to have enough food and water supply in the safe room.

Secret access. Depending on the design, the safe room can have a secret door leading out of the main house, through a tunnel, this is very important in extreme cases.

Safety equipments. You must have functioning fire extinguisher, toolbox with basic tools. As human beings we must do our best to protect ourselves, the rest leave God,He is able.




9 Ways to Save Money When Building Your Dream House.

Everybody hopes to build a dream house in their lifetime. Without proper planning and consultation,building a house can be a horrendous experience. There are many factors to consider before and during the process of building your own home. Following the steps below, will help you save money.

1.Plan your budget.

This is the most important factor, it determines the kind of lifestyle you want, the location to buy land, the type of house to build.What size of rooms you want? How much are you willing to spend on building the house? Where will you get the money?How to save money?

Don’t start to build a house that will stall midway,due to lack of proper financial planning.

 2. Your Choice of Land.

Different location have different rules for construction, some are regulated by the local authorities,there is also zoning of areas to serve specific roles e.g industrial zones, residential zones, commercial zones, single dwellings,multi-dwelllings, some have controlled designs(bungalows only or maisonette only).

Type of ground also varies, is it a swampy or black cotton ground?Will you save money because,the ground is naturally able to support the building, or you must do special foundation for it, which definitely may be expensive to build on?

As we covered earlier in this blog on step by step building…its important to keenly scrutinize the land you are buying. There is a lot of fraud in land transactions. Use reputable land experts, to help you check the historical use of the land. Go over the transaction details line by line.

3.Visit homes/Check online for samples.

Many people are not able to visualize size or arrangement of rooms on a paper unless they see one physically. With many new developments coming up everyday, you can visit several homes to get a feel and be able to understand room sizes, window sizes, wall finishes and many more ideas, which can be implemented or modified to suit your life style. Lack of clear vision of size of rooms, can lead to a very big design that can poke holes into your pocket, or very small rooms that are not functional.

4. Seek expert advice.

There are several professionals involve in building a house. Use skilled and experienced consultants who can help you make your dream house to become a reality. This should be done within your budget expectations.

  • Architect: He should be able to visualize your dreams and put them on paper. He should give you both a beautiful house that is functional. It’s always cheaper to make changes on the drawings than to make changes when construction is under way.
  • Structural engineer: He should be skilled and give you drawings that have  been checked and stamped by a registered engineer. The structural safety of the house is paramount. He should be deeply involved in all structural areas, foundation, slab, beams, columns and the roof.
  • Services Engineers: They aid in designs of electrical, plumbing and drainage of the house. They should supervise the electrical, plumbing and drainage work.
  • Quantity Surveyor/Estimators: I can’t stress enough! Before breaking ground make sure you have the estimates for building the house. It should be done in stages, foundation stage, walling above slab, roofing stage etc. You must have the estimates before starting construction. Go through the estimates item by item and understand it completely. With estimates, you will know whether you have a design that fits your budget.

You must appoint one of the consultants, usually the architect to act as your project manager, and to supervise the contractor.

5.Hire The Right Builder.

How should you go about choosing a contractor? Building a house is an expensive venture, so u must choose a contractor who is as committed to realize your dreams as you.

The right contractor should be qualified and experienced in his line of trade. Wrong choice of a builder can cost money and  time, so you better be very careful. Before you hire a contractor, get a  list of reference and ask to see some of the work he  has done. Talk to his previous clients to know his weakness and strengths. Areas to check are honesty, competence, is he wasteful with materials? Can he meet deadlines?

Is he a good communicator, can you communicate easily with him at anytime during the construction period?Your friends or relatives who have built their homes can refer to you the contractors they used.The contractor should be   registered with relevant local authority.

6.Shop and Compare Contractors’ rates.

To save money,don’t settle for the first quote given to you; you should get as many quotes as possible, that way you will be  in good position to negotiate for a fair rate. Some times there may be up to four times difference in rates.NB as you compare the rates remember that the lowest rate may not be the best choice, you may end up with cheap substandard job. You have to balance between reasonable costs and best quality job.

Even for materials do the same. Shop and compare prices of the materials. You may get one hardware charging cement fairly but expensive in steel reinforcements.

 7.Secure your agreement.

In construction industry you have to be very careful. At every stage there is risk of loosing money to unscrupulous people posing as experts, builders or suppliers. Before hiring a builder or a consultant, please get everything in writing. If it’s the architect designing the house, have a formal agreement, showing exactly what he should produce at the end of the contract and what will be the payment agreed upon.

Never pay everything at once, breakdown the payment in to suitable installments. There has should be a down payment, payment during and after completion of the task. We have seen  many cases of people disappearing after being paid full amount before starting work.

8.Give  Labor only Contract.

Though very hectic and time-consuming, you can save money by sourcing and buying materials on your own and give the contractor labor based contract only. The contractor will still be required to help you decide on the quality and quantity of   materials to buy. The materials should be delivered on time, otherwise, the contractor may have idle workers on site and he may charge you for idle hours. So advance planning is very important. The client has to be ahead of the builder as far as procurement of materials is concerned. When you are buying materials you must consider the points below

  • Check contractor for wastage of materials.
  • You must secure the materials on site both night and day.
  • You must quantify materials delivered to site.

9. Stay focused and organized.

Make sure the construction is going on as outlined in the programme.Have a record of all transactions done since commencement of the project.There should be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly meetings with all consultants and the contractor.Communication between the client, builder and consultants should be open and clear. All instructions should be communicated on time.Team work, cooperation should be encouraged among all the players in the project.You are sure to save money with when you implement the points above.


Two Bed Room House Plan With Costing

Building a house has many challenges, but with proper planning with the right team, it can be fun building and seeing your house coming up stress free. We are going to look at a ready-made house plan with cost estimates for building it.



1 SUB-STRUCTURE. From site clearance up to and including ground floor slab 450,000.00
STAGE TWO Building of the Super-structure walling. 150,000.00
1 Building of ring beam,including concreting 120,000.00
1 ROOFING.Includes,wall plate,trusses,fascia board and roof cover 450,000.00
1 WINDOWS/EXTERNAL DOORS. All made of steel, including glazing. 100,000.00
2 INTERNAL DOOR FRAMES. Sizes 6×2 and 4×2.Include fixing to the wall 20,000.00
  Plumbing pipes, electrical piping and switch boxes. 30,000.00
1 PLASTER. This covers, internal wall, floor screed, external plaster above  
  ring beam and gable wall, plinth and pointed horizontal key. 130,000.00
1 CEILING BRANDERING.Including eaves 60,000.00
2 INTERNAL DOORS. All semi-solid flush door, with brass hinges and union locks 65,000.00
3 WINDOW BOARDS. Mahogany 6 inch by 1 inch 10,000.00
1 TILING.Saj Ceramic floor entire house and wall tiling in washroom and kitchen 180,000.00 
2 KITCHEN CABINETS AND WARDROBES carpentry fit outs. 150,000.00
3 CURTAIN RODS 40,000.00
1 PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL FITTINGS, sanitary wares,electrical lights  
  Sockets, switches. 60,000.00
1 CEILING BOARD. 9mm Chipboard from timsales and gypsum cornice. 57,000.00
2 PAINTING. One emulsion undercoat and 2 final silk coat to internal room  
  Gloss paint to windows, clear vanish to window board, internal doors  
  architraves,quadrants.External one emulsion coat and two mart coats 80,000.00

The estimation and costing of the house Plan has been based on the specifications below.

  • The house is built on a murrum soil, with a strip foundation depth of 1200mm, 600mm wide; thickness of concrete footing is 150mm. Strip foundation concrete of ratio 1:2:4, with 8mm high yield steel (y 8).
  • 9 inch uncut stones for foundation walling, with a mortar ratio of 1:3.
  • Hardcore filling 300mm thick, murrum blinding and treated with gladiator pesticides.
  • Drainage and electrical pipes are placed in concrete.
  • The ground floor slab is 100mm thick, reinforced with A 65 BRC mesh, on 1000g polythene sheet dump prove membrane.
  • 9 inch by 6 inch machine cut stones for super-structure walling.
  • 300mm by 150mm ring beam, with 10mm and 8mm high steel bars, 1:2:4 concrete ratio mix.
  • Roof cover  galvanized colored  iron sheet  of 30g,with cypress timber truss members  of size 100mm by 50mm (4inch by2inch).Wall plate of same size also, timber purling of size 75mmby50mm    (3inch by 2inch).
  • External windows and door will be steel cased. French window design, with 4mm clear glass, except washroom 3mm thick translucent glass.
  • Use of cypress timber in all carpentry work, except wardrobes and kitchen cabinets.
  • Use ppr pipes for plumbing and heavy gauge PVC pipes for drainage system.
  • Use heavy gauge PVC conduits for electrical piping, electrical cables from authorized dealers like East African cables.
  • Internal plaster on all walls, cement/lime sand mix, and 25mm floor screed cement/sand mix. External finish, pointed key below ring beam, and plaster render above ring beam, walling below and above bay windows and entrance walling and Plinth plaster

How To Design a Kitchen

The kitchen is the social hub of a home, and a well designed kitchen not only adds to the enjoyment of your home, but also boosts its resale value. A kitchen needs to make a strong design statement.

Each day you spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing meals for your loved ones, so the kitchen must be efficient, comfortable and as beautiful as possible.

Factors to consider when planning your kitchen. Read More …