Kenyan homeowners turning to China for house fittings

fittingsKenyan home owners and builders are increasingly turning to China for ready made house fittings as they seek to lower construction costs.

The house fittings from China, including wardrobes, drawers, picture frames, ceiling boards and beams, are gaining popularity among upper middle and high-income earners looking to build their dream homes.

Ceramic tiles, upholstery, wooden flooring, fitted kitchens and lampshades are also being imported by a growing number of Kenyans, thanks to their attractive designs as well as their ability to lower costs by up to 40 per cent.

“You do not have to buy wood, engage carpenters, pay them and then perhaps end up with low quality work. You now buy and ask someone to fit,” Joel Kiboi, a contractor in Nairobi, recently told Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Mr Kiboi added that house fittings from China were especially popular among Kenyan developers who are building homes for sale.

“The lower the building costs, the higher the profit and that is what all the property developers want. Those imported fittings come in handy because they cut costs by a huge margin,” Mr Kiboi said.

Enterprising Kenyans are now flocking to China to shop for fittings and building materials, amid complains that Chinese are flooding the local market with substandard products.

However, according to analysts, the Chinese sell all kinds of products depending on the quality that buyers want and the amount of money they are willing to spend.

Ordinarily, the Chinese sell products according to classes or grades, with the first number or letter (1 or A) indicating the highest quality.

According to Antony Kuyo, a Nairobi-based consultant, Grade A or 1 house fittings from China are of higher quality than locally-made products.

“Those developers who go for Grade 1 offer their clients the value for their money. But sadly, the majority of the developers who are targeting middle-income earners go for lower grade items that get damaged faster, which spoil the name of Chinese products,” Mr Kuyo said.

The majority of Kenyans who go for top grade fittings usually put them in high-end homes.

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