Feature: Chinese firm helps transform Kenya's construction sector through precast technology

(Xinhua) 10:22, July 09, 2024

NAIROBI, July 8 (Xinhua) -- About 30 km southeast of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, China Wu Yi (Kenya) Precast Company Limited has built an expansive factory for new building technologies, causing ripples in the local construction sector.

The company in 2016 established the Kenya Building Industrialization Research Development and Production Base alongside the building materials supermarket project called "Wu Yi Base" in the industrial town of Athi River.

The Wu Yi Base is an architectural marvel nestled between serene plains and farmland. For the past several years, the factory has been churning out precast materials, including concrete slabs, steel beams, and columns, for assembly into a modern house.

Inside the sprawling complex that houses the production base, a supermarket for building materials, and living quarters, local youth like Brian Calisto Kariuki have secured gainful employment, a platform to gain insight into precast building technology.

A geospatial engineering major, the 30-year-old joined China Wu Yi in 2017 to work at the precast building materials factory and has risen through the ranks to become an assistant manager at the firm.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Kariuki noted that with precast technology readily available, a developer only has to assemble columns and slabs on site to construct a house; the technology shortens the time and maintains good quality.

"When you do precast, you can do four floors in a month. So you save time and money. You can control the quality of the concrete," said Kariuki. "Another advantage is that it is all-weather, so whether it is raining or sunny, you can still do precast."

To date, China Wu Yi has constructed landmark buildings using precast technology, including the Central Bank of Kenya pension towers and the Rose Avenue shopping center building in Nairobi, Kariuki said.

He credited his Chinese supervisor for mentorship that has improved his technical and managerial skills, adding that precast technology has revolutionized the construction sector.

At the China Wu Yi Base, the design, manufacture, display, and sale of assembled precast components are carried out seamlessly to help meet growing demand.

With the capacity to design and produce 50,000 cubic meters of prefabricated components annually, the Wu Yi Base targets developers aiming to set up multi-story apartments and detached houses within a short duration and at a reasonable budget.

Senior officials from regulatory agencies have been visiting the Wu Yi Base, appreciating the prefabrication technology amid its huge contribution to Kenya's industrial progress and economic modernization.

Meanwhile, during the production of these precast components, China Wu Yi has been controlling dust pollution and wastage of raw materials such as sand and cement.

"The prefabricated assembly building realizes minimum damage to the environment caused by the construction project and effectively carries out the concept of green, low-carbon, and environmental protection," said Shi Zuliang, deputy general manager of the company.

Next to China Wu Yi's precast production factory, the Coloho Mall home furnishing and building materials exhibition and sales center has been serving clients in Kenya and across the East African region.

At the Coloho Mall, China Wu Yi has introduced more than 20 brands of Chinese building materials and home furnishings, such as ceramic tiles, sanitary ware, hardware tools, lanterns, and home furnishings, into the Kenyan market.

For local employees like Mercy Wambui, a 30-year-old marketer, both the precast factory and one-stop shop for building materials have fulfilled the dream of homeownership among Kenyans through access to affordable and high-quality building materials.

Wambui noted that in the future, she looked forward to enhanced China-Kenya cooperation in the manufacturing and housing sectors to spur the growth of the local economy, technology transfer, and job creation.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


Related Stories