AConstruction mobile App that its developers say will greatly help consolidate construction has been launched in Kenya.
iBuild is a mobile application designed to provide a virtual marketplace that connects households wishing to contract the construction of a home with architects, lenders, permit issuing authorities, contractors, and the workers thereby providing all these stakeholders access to a ‘one-stop-shop’ for home construction.
The application aims to address the severe housing shortage in urban Kenya, provide access to affordable financing, while reducing the cost of small scale home construction, says Jonathan Godbout director of programs and international development at US-based Builders of Hope.
The mobile phone application is specifically designed to lower the transaction costs of small-scale home construction, whilst also providing potential home buyers with access to affordable financing, to increase the supply of affordable housing and therefore addressing the shortage of affordable homes in Kenya.
Operating as a simple to use project management tool iBUILD will support households to navigate the construction of their home from conception to completion.
How the App works
Once a project is initiated iBUILD will assist consumers to find and contract qualified architects who will then be able to upload designs and supporting documents to obtain official permits for construction, and/or to apply for loans for house construction.
Once permits and funding has been secured iBUILD will allow consumers to shop online for fundis (fundis is a Kenyan term for multi-skilled contractors) choosing them by price, availability, previous user ratings, etc.
In a similar way to Uber, the app will receive payment from consumer / lender when jobs are contracted but will only release funds via mobile wallets when construction is complete, thereby ensuring all parties uphold their contractual obligations.
iBUILD will support contractors by allowing them to tender for jobs at no cost. It will also vastly improve their efficiency by using automated project management tools to help them efficiently schedule or subcontract work, and to benefit from the user rating services to build up a trusted brand of their own.
The inclusion of services such as blueprint templates incorporating low-cost building techniques, check lists, and quantity estimators, will also allow contractors to save time & materials therefore further lowering construction costs, thereby making the entire market more competitive on price.