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With the surging city population, developers ought to be at their best

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Tik-tok-tik-tok!! As the clock ticks, another muturage is packing his/her bags from the village headed for the city, seeking the vast opportunities that the now rapidly expanding capital is offering. From a distance, city authorities keep watch, pondering on how to accommodate the budding population in its capital, composed of locals and foreigners.

After the 1994 genocide, the Rwandan government embarked on an economic recovery mission, a mission that has earned it a place in the Globeís economic circles as one of the fastest rising economies. Among the things envisaged in the countryís vision 2030 is the Kigali Conceptual Master Plan which is based on research and analysis of a wide range of background conditions and technical aspects, as outlined in the Existing Conditions Report. The report considered environmental, land use, infrastructural, cultural, and socioeconomic factors, as well as economic and demographic projections, and outlined opportunities and constraints for urban development. In doing so, it set the stage for the Kigali conceptual Master Plan, which in turn outlines the designs, strategies and actions that will guide Kigali planners and citizens into future more detailed District Plans and implementation. According to the Kigali Housing Market Study that was released early November by the Kigali City Council, Kigali City needs at least 344,068 new housing units over the next ten years to accommodate the rapidly growing population. The report indicates that half of the 223,000 houses in Kigali are in good shape, 32 per cent in dire need of elevation, while the rest are low quality structures in slums that need to be supplanted. With an annual population growth rate of 5.7 per cent, Kigali City Council projects the population of the countryís capital to rise from the current 1.1 million to two million by 2022.

According to the City mayor, Fidel Ndayisaba, being at the centre of the countryís development, Kigali needs to complement its fast-growing economy and population by employing a systematic approach to affordable housing for all the people residing in the city.
ìA key element for sustainable growth of Kigali is the provision of decent housing for all. To that end, we are committed to ensuring the availability of financing, land, utilities and building materials and an adequate regulatory framework,î Ndayisaba says. Donna Rubinoff, Kigali City Senior Advisor in Urban planning says that close to 2,562 hectares of residential land is required, which might prove a challenge considering that people will need to be evicted for land development. Rubinoff further notes that the survey provides the council with the tools it needs to overcome such challenges, illuminate the Kigali housing market and build not just houses but quality neighbourhoods for all citizensî.

Other than land shortage, KCC projects an investment of about US$2.5 billion for it to increase the rate of housing construction. ìCurrent supply of houses is about 1,000 units per year; this is very low compared to an estimated demand of 35,000 new residential houses annually,î the report states.

Architect’s advice

Building a house can be one of the most exciting experiences of your life while being also one of the most exasperating experiences.
Building a house can be o¨ne of the most exciting experiences of your life while being also o¨ne of the most exasperating experiences. When building a house, ideally, the weather will be perfect, all the materials will arrive on time and intact, and the trades people will be ready and on time. Unfortunately this is a very rare occasion. The weather could take a turn for the worse, materials could be late or items missing, the electrician could be held up at another job, or any number of things could go wrong. The point is that building a house can be a chaotic event. So how do you decide if the time and circumstances are right for you to build a home? Simon Karimba, a practicing architect with Lake Consortium, a construction and development consultants firm inRwanda takes us through the vital steps to click on your way to establishing a new house:

1. Financing
Before you start anything you might want to talk to your bank or mortgage companies to make sure you qualify for the mortgage to build your dream home. He says this is important as it will save you from the anguish of not getting the financing to build your home and save time during the planning and design process.

2. Commission the services of an Architect
Dare to Dream, Before commisioning the services of an architect, put your ideas into perspective and give yourself an opportunity to try out different ideas, layouts and designs either in form of notes, sketches or cut-outs from magazines. After you have compiled ideas for your dream home , take along your sketches/scrapbook to your Architect. Having your ideas on paper should save you costly time with your Architect.
Make sure when you commission an architect, they are not only a practicing but a registered Architect, otherwise you run the risk of having your application for a building permit denied. Depending on the architectural practice you chose, your architectís firm should be able to advise and provide you with the following professional services to formulate the design documentation for your dream house:
•    Architectural Design Documentation
•    Structural Design Documentation
•    Electrical and Mechanical Design Documentation
•    Cost Estimates and Bills of Quantities
These should consititute your full design documentation.
The District authorities through the Zoning and Urban Design Guidelines regulate the type of uses, development intensity, sitting and height of building on any plot. It provides landowners/developers with a clear picture of what can and cannot be developed on any particular plot. Authorities will have to approve of your building plan on the basis of these guidelines when you apply for a building permit. Other than design your dream home, your commissioned architect will be able to ensure that your documentation complies with these and other regulations set out by these guidelines.

3. Building Permit Application
After your Architect provides you with the detailed design documentation, you submit it together with supporting documentation ( land ownership papers) and apply for your building permit at the the district land office/one stop center for approval  After submission of complete and sufficient documentation, the approval and issuance of a building permit is meant to take not more than 30days. There are plans to shorten this period by making construction permit application and issuance done online in a project scheduled to be piloted next month.

4. Construction
Depending on your approach, you could either chose to go for a self build construction or employ a general contractor to construct your home. For the case of self-build projects, one will need to assemble and manage a team of trade skills (fundis) construct your house, who will include masons, plumbers, electrician and landscapers.
If you decide to hire a general contractor to complete the works, then it will be the contractorís job to employ and carry the risk of all the trades. Another common undertaking in Rwanda is hybrid of both approaches whereby a general contractor is employed but on a labour contract. In this case the employer sources and purchases the construction materials and the general contractor builds. It is also imperative at this stage to commission your architect to carry out post contract services of supervision of the construction works for quality and quantity assurances.

5. Financing and Insurance
Arrange suitable financing. Your mortgage provider will require that appropriate insurance is in place at the start of the construction and you will want to make sure that your building is protected in case of fire, theft and other problems that can have an effect on the value of your building.
Lakes Consortium Ltd

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