The buildings are made energy efficient with the use of insulation, sandwich panel and daylight panels among other techniques, ranking them among most suitable, sustainable building technologies
The factory built and insitu-assemble building concept recently introduced into the Kenya and East African market by Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM) – part of the Safal Group, a structures/buildings roofing solutions doyen provider and house-hold name in the region under the brand name ‘SAFBUILD’, is relatively new for the region. Yet given the advantages it offers to the end user, its acceptance has been quite amazing.
“The acceptance is increasing at a very rapid pace and we have been able to execute over 150 buildings all over Kenya and eastern Africa since our launch in 2019,” affirms Mr. Kadir Khan, Head of Sales for the Prefabricated Engineered Building (PEB) Solutions at Safal Group.
“Moreover, the world is changing very fast and there’s a thrust on Green Construction Technology all over the world due to global warming. SAFBUILD contributes a lot in reducing the carbon print given that we don’t utilize cement, mortar, blocks and water to construct the building. We utilize steel to construct the full building which itself is recyclable.”
“Further, our buildings are made energy efficient with the use of insulation, sandwich panel and daylight panels among other techniques. We can thus safely aver that ‘SAFBUILD IS THE FUTURE’ and that prospect exist for immense opportunity for us going forward in the East African Market,” Mr. Khan adds.
“SAFBUILD gives our clients world-class buildings with SPEED given that ours are prefabricated pre-engineered building structures. All the components are fabricated in our factory on fully automatic machines under controlled environment all of which gives us speed as well as best quality and durability. And since we utilize pre-galvanized steel to make the building frames, no painting is required thus ensuring a maintenance-free building for Life,” further expounds Mr Khan
Essentially, the technology provides for insulated panels, double skin roof/cladding/ and use of insulation materials for preventing passage of heat and sound (heat and sound proofing) within the SAFBUILD structures.
Mr. Khan explains that SAFBUILD has already completed a healthcare project for the Tigoni Hospital in Kiambu County where the insulation for roof and walls (double skin sandwich) has been applied ensuring warmth in the cold seasons and coolness in the hot seasons.
“Apart from insulation, we can also integrate sandwich panels within our panels to provide comfortable habitable space. Louvers/ windows among others can also be integrated very well with the building,” he adds.
The company uses a specialized grade of pre-galvanized Steel of different thicknesses (275 GSM, Grade 450 Steel) for SAFBUILD. This steel is for specialized end use such as making cold formed structural framing and members. Given that this specialized steel is not available in Kenya and Eastern Africa, the company imports it from the world’s best suppliers.
How does SAFBUILD assure for the challenges of climate change seen in higher temperatures and related phenomena to make the structures more resistant to environmental elements and consequently more durable?
According to Mr. Khan, the company utilizes Pre-galvanized 275 GSM Grade -450 steel for its structures, which is very durable and long-lasting. Since the structures are completely pre-galvanized, they don’t require painting for lifetime and give customers maintenance-free buildings with no threat from rusting for life.
Consequently, the structures can withstand adverse weather and climate conditions for a lifetime and the steel is recyclable.
SAFBUILD boasts of many compelling selling points, one of which is very fast speed in construction.
“It takes less than half the time used to construct a conventional building when one constructs a building using SAFBUILD. Further SAFBUILD is pre-engineered and pre-fabricated in our factory using state of the art automatic equipment and machines giving us the requisite speed and world-class quality,” Mr Khan elaborates.
He adds that the complete building is supplied in knock-down form and is assembled and erected at site through use of cranes with minimum efforts. Moreover, SAFBUILD is a one-stop-shop offering a complete building solution with less hassles.
“Order SAFBUILD and concentrate on your other tasks and let’s do the building,” he assures. “We have been supplying building to Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda apart from locally in Kenya.”
Along the way, SAFBUILD has garnered some critical lessons, one of which is that planning a project well at its onset is important. It’s important to ensure that our clients and consultants ably appreciate the advantages of full-kitting right at the onset to avoid on-site changes and modifications which take precious time off their other important schedules and are eventually costly,” Mr Khan explains.
He observes that the conventional building construction methods are very deep-rooted and would need a drastic change of thinking and mindset. Nevertheless, the company has been able to increase the acceptance of SAFBUILD gradually among its targeted users.
Among SAFBUILD’s key partners are Architects, Engineers, Structural Consultants and Quantity Surveyors (QSs) among others. Additionally, the company is working with those involved in constructing warehouses and others working in the industrial and institutional sectors and even providing building solutions for learning and faith institutions.
Currently, the company has not partnered much with the national government whose current focus is affordable housing. “Currently, we don’t offer solutions SAFBUILD for the residential sector though we have plans to offer the solutions in a few years going into the brighter future,” Mr Khan explains.
Challenges and mitigation measures
Since this is new building knowledge, there’s lack of awareness about the technology and product.
“Nevertheless, the company is working closely with specifiers and Building & Construction professionals such as Architects, Structural & Engineering Consultants, QSs and the different professional bodies in the country and E Africa region to make them understand the technology, products and benefits better. We are also creating more awareness mass, digital and social media outlets,” asserts Mr. Khan.
Going forward into the brighter future, SAFBUILD is constantly working on raising more awareness on the technology and product through seminars/webinars, direct meetings with building & construction professionals and professional associations & bodies, government officials among many others. The aim is to take SAFBUILD to every nook and corner of Kenya and eastern Africa in the near future.
“In the next 5 to 10 years, we foresee ourselves as the Number One pre-engineered steel buildings solution provider. In fact, we would want to move beyond buildings and include steel construction solutions for all type of needs,” asserts Mr Khan. “SAFBUILD is here to give you a one stop solution, which is world-class, maintenance-free building in less than half the time as compared to other building and construction methods. Moreover, SAFBUILD is provided by MRM with warranties and guarantees built in on a complete building with roofing and cladding sheets. SAFBUILD gives you peace of mind for life,” Mr Khan concludes.