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How Covid-19 will influence future innovation in home design

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The world is still smarting from the blows of the Covid-19 pandemic, a contagion whose disruptive thrust has been felt in practically every facet of our social and economic lives.

And as the shockwaves of the pandemic reverberate in the real estate industry, experts say that the sector must reinvent itself to align with the demands of the post- Covid-19 era. It’s time to revisit the way we build our homes and how we interact in the built environment and shed some practices that do not conform to, say, social distancing in the home. “As we approach a post Covid-19 era, a well-designed house will be critical all the while ensuring that the comfort at home is not compromised,” Architect Florence Nyole says.

She says a lot of the housing stock in Kenya lacks in basic design principles, such as admission of natural light and proper passive ventilation.

An architect with EcoSpace Architects and the chairperson of the Architects Chapter at the Architectural Association of Kenya, she asserts that our built environment currently suffers from the effects of intensive subdivision of land, which hinders proper design of homes.

“We have subdivided plots into too small parcels, such that proper design is a challenge. The Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), which is caused by poor ventilation, resulting in dusty, smoky or ‘ foggy rooms and continuous use of % artificial lighting is a major contributor to poor health and lack of wellness of the dwellers, especially in densely populated areas of our cities. This results the sprea if Covid-19, but also -7 airborne diseases,” she says. The World Health T Organisation (WH V \ tributes the sprea Covid-19 largely to the v movement of microdroplets, invisible to the naked eye, from infected persons. The droplets can linger in the air for up to 20 minutes, during which time they retain their potency to cause infection. Poorly ventilated spaces, therefore, serve as conducive environments for the spread of the disease.

“A poorly ventilated mom will cause the microdroplets to be inhaled by other occupants or settle on surfaces causing further infection if not sanitised in good time”, Florence told Boma.

“Proper ventilation will be key in helping to alleviate the spread of the microdroplets. Building our’ homes with maximum aeration is critical in mitigating the spread of the virus within enclosed spaces,” she added.

This, she says, will involve installation of open-able windows within living spaces to allow for sufficient airflow. Further, in areas where wind speeds are low, aided air movement through the use of extracting fans will be required. She, however, cautions against the use of airconditioning, as the principle behind these systems is to cool and recycle air into the spaces. “If the air cycle is contaminated, these could be inhaled and cause infection to the occupants of the space”.

As the government implements the home-based care initiative for Covid-19 patients, we must rethink our interactions in the home of the future, seeing it not only as a conducive space for recuperation, but also a safe environment for caregivers and non-infected residents. As Florence puts it, moving forward, there’s need to look at our homes not only as spaces for living, but also as places of care for patients. “This brings the disease closer home and good design should offer as much isolation as possible if one of the occupants will require home-based care. This would entail designing homes with a self-contained section complete with areas for washing, cooking and resting that can accommodate at least two persons. Some form of visual

continuity should be maintained to enhance human-to-human interaction and improve the chances of healing for the patient,” she points out.

Noting that the coronavirus also spreads due to contact with contaminated surfaces, Florence advises that there is need to not only sanitise potential contact surfaces in the home, but also minimise the number of surfaces that one comes into contact with. And this, she says, is a potential area crying out for innovations. “We should, therefore, expect an acceleration in the adoption of automated systems from door opening to light switching and even washroom flashing. The World Health Organisation has advised that surfaces should be disinfected as often as possible. If these commonly touched surfaces could be reduced as much as possible, adoption of automation to a greater extent than has been done in the past will be necessary,” she explains.

The world has adopted social distancing as a key mitigation against the spread of Covid-19. Under this new dynamic, the Chair of the Architects Chapter avers that we are likely to see a shift in the room sizes – especially living areas where guests are entertained – to observe this minimum distance.

Florence further says that some activities may be moved outdoors when the weather allows and there will be increased use of gardens and open spaces where there is fresh air.

Sanitisation will also occur as one enters the home, and these sanitation facilities could be installed right at the entrance in comparison to the current status where hand washing occurs at the guest bathroom or at the handwasining basin within the dining area or the kitchen sink. A redesign of the entrance lobby to incorporate this may be considered.

“Proper natural ventilation and admission of daylight into the living spaces will become critical,” she offers, noting that whereas this may be easily achieved in standalone units such as single dwellings, the challenge is greater in areas where there is dense construction, such as tenements and highrise buildings adjacent to each other.

By PD.co.ke


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Cry of a Kenyan man whose Multi-Million-Shilling Apartments have gone unoccupied for 4 Years

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A landlord in Kenya has been left counting losses after his real estate retirement plan goes down the drain.

85-year-old David Ndolo from Kitengela told the media that he had lost more than Ksh10 million in rent after his multimillion apartment block stayed unoccupied for 4 years.

Ndolo says he built the multi-million-shilling property in Kitengela, Kajiado County through his pension savings. Its construction was completed in 2014.

The building consists of five bedsitters and 19 two-bedroom houses, which should earn him a total of Sh250,000 per month.

“I have watched helplessly as my retirement investment crumbles,” he lamented.

According to neighbors, his tenants started fleeing due to sewer water suspected to be coming from an adjacent building linked to a retired government official.

Ndolo’s troubles began in 2014 when over 200 tenants occupied the adjacent building and sewer water started seeping into his apartments.

He says he reported the matter to the National Environmental Management Authority and public health officials but the authorities closed the building instead.

His daughter Roselyn Ndolo said that officials ordered the closure citing that the apartments were a health hazard.

When contacted by journalists, Kitengela Public Health Officer Benard Kiluva stated that he did not have enough information on the matter since he was recently posted to the area.

Kajiado NEMA Director Joseph Kopejo promised to visit the site to probe the matter.

Government officials say Many landlords in the country have been contravening these provisions by either discharging untreated effluent into a public sewer or discharging it into the environment without an effluent discharge license.

“According to Kenyan law, it is illegal for  any person from discharging any effluent from sewer treatment works, industry or other sources into the environment without a valid effluent discharge license issued by the authority,” said a NEMA official.

 


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Kenyans in Diaspora to get a free ride from the Airport courtesy of Certified Homes

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Your developer of choice Certified Homes Ltd is offering Kenyans working and living in the diaspora FREE ride from the airport to their destinations within Nairobi metropolitan.

Certified Homes Ltd is the first developer in Kenya specialising in affordable houses to offer all Kenyans in diaspora rides from the airport free of charge.

On arrival the diasporans will receive special gift hampers courtesy of Certified Homes Ltd.
Have a look at Sukari Heights comprising of Studio, 2 & 3 br plus SQ apartments starting from Ksh 2.7M located in the most exclusive Kahawa Sukari neighborhood.

 

To book your free ride;
Call/WhatsApp +254711128128
Email: diaspora@certifiedhomes.co.ke
www.certifiedhomes.co.ke


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Top athlete turns to jiko-making to beat pandemic

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They say a man must do what a man must do.

This idiom has become a reality to Dominic Samson Ndigiti, the reigning Africa U20 10,000 metres walk race champion and former World U17 10,000 metres walk race bronze medalist during the Covid-19 times.

Ndigiti, who has won Kenya a gold medal at the Africa Under-20 Championships held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, has been crisscrossing the country, doing what he now loves to do most: Making affordable, energy-saving jikos – charcoal cooking stoves.

Coronavirus pandemic

Though the walking race champion learnt the skills of making this particular kind of jiko in 2018 when in Finland where he had gone for a competition, he did not put them to use until when coronavirus hit the world, putting a break on most sporting activities.

“I saw the whites making the jikos in 2018 when we had gone to Finland for Under20 competitions. It took a week for me to learn. But I started being serious when coronavirus hit us. The jikos now earn me a living,” he said.

The 20-year-old says the modern jikos use charcoal or firewood.

“It uses less firewood and it has a chimney, which helps keep smoke out of the house. It is not a complicated jiko and long after cooking is done, it conserves heat because of the clay bricks used,” he said.

The jikos are of different sizes and can fit in any kind of house be it permanent, temporary or semi-permanent.

“I do not discriminate for which house to make my jikos. Charges vary according to sizes. A one-stoned jiko goes for Sh3,000, two 4,500, three 6,000 and four and above goes for Sh10,000,” said Ndigiti.

He says that materials needed include cement, clay bricks, fireproof and red-oxide paint.

Different work

Ndigiti says many people see him as a successful person owing to his record in the walking race, but the tough times have forced him to work differently.

“I am grateful because Kenyans have responded very well to my venture. I have visited many counties in the past few months, making jikos. Before coronavirus, I did not know my home county of Kisii well, though I have was born and brought up here, but making jikos has made me a tourist,” he said.

Ndigiti, who hails from Marani sub-county in Kisii County, schooled at Kiandega High School in Nyamira county and developed a passion for the walking race while in Standard Six.

He says he was inspired by his teachers.

“I am glad for the achievement I have made in walking race. That is another gift in addition to walking that God has given me. Many people in Kenya do not know this kind of sporting activity. China, Spain and Japan top the competitions,” he said.

The IAAF World U18 Championships is an international event bringing together athletes from all over the world who are 17 or younger.

“Coronavirus brought a lot of problems in the world and we couldn’t go out to compete. I hope this will end soon. But this pandemic has made me learn the hard way. Talents are to be exploited, no matter how much little income they bring,” said Ndigiti.

He is hopeful that after the pandemic, he will represent Kenya in the Olympics and will bring home a gold medal.

Ndigiti comes from a humble family and his success in the walking race has not taken away his humility.

Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

“We live life easy. Living well with people has taught me a lot during this coronavirus time. The requests to make more jikos is overwhelming,” he said, adding that Elgeyo Marakwet Woman Rep Jane Kiptoo has already asked for his help in making more than 100 jikos for women groups.

He says most of his clients are women. “They have embraced my idea of making our kitchens look better.”


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