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Irene Wanjiku Talks About Roof Evolution

Inversk Review

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The author of this article is a roofing specialist most commonly known as ‘The Roofing Queen’ and Managing Director of Rexe Roofing Products Ltd. Learn more about her here.


Most architects I have interacted with, and discussed some aspects of roofing for their projects, would not shy off from expressing their frustrations dealing with clients whose preoccupation is the roof. Not just a roof, but a complex one with a series of pitches and ridges combined with dormers and roof windows with surfaces pitched at absurd angles and finished with all manner of materials with varying colours, all as the clients fight to beat their neighbours by having the most ‘unique’ house. For them, to achieve this uniqueness and beauty, the roof is critical.

For the 15 years that I have been in the roofing industry, helping architects and developers put good roofs over the houses they design and build, I have come to learn that how a roof looks is important. More important however is the understanding that a roof equals protection and survival. A roof protects the things we love and care about and it offers us safety and strength if properly built and installed.

Man has utilized various natural resources, technological methods and ways of application throughout history to create the roofing we have today. From wood, mud and straw, to tiling, shingles and beyond, one thing we have always taken for granted is the necessity of a properly functioning roof for survival since the dawn of time. Roofs help protect us every day of our lives but we rarely think about them unless they stop working properly.

The earliest known roofing was the wooly skin of a giant mammoth noted in Siberia 40,000 BC.

In 100 BC the Romans introduced slating and tiling and in 735 AD thatched roofs made their debut. 300 years would pass before wood shingles bowed and it wasn’t until the 12th Century when things really got moving. Right about that time, King John of England decided that thatched and reed roofs of London were to be replaced with clay tiles. This was in an attempt to reduce spreading of fires. This declaration became some sort of a ‘law’.

We have come a long way since putting wooly mammoth over our heads and the roofing industry has changed a lot in the last 200 years. The idea remains the same today as it was then; a quality roof is safety and protection from the elements, it keeps us warm during cold weather and cool when it is hot outside.

How a roof is built is dependent upon a number of factors, key among them is the architectural concepts implemented in the building design. The building design concepts, especially with regards to the roofs, would be influenced by the purpose of the building, available roof building materials and technologies, and the local traditions of construction.

The basic shapes of a roof include flat, mono pitched, gabled, hipped, butterfly, arched and domed. There are many variations of the same types and the factors which influence the shapes of the roofs are climate of the area and materials available for the roof structure and finishes for the outer layer.

Currently in Kenya, roof typologies are stagnant. Most residential buildings have pitched roofs, some which could even be of organic shapes mostly due to the use of flexible materials like thatch or shingles. A few variants have made use of flat roofs, ostensibly to create usable terrace spaces at the roof level. The dominant roof typology for the commercial buildings is the flat roof.

Pitched roofs are usually two sided sloped, mostly with a gable on both ends. If the gables are replaced with pitched surfaces, creating a pyramidal shaped roof, this variation transforms into a heaped roof. In most cases, the pitch of both sides is the same although it is not unusual to see roofs pitched at different angles primarily for aesthetics.

Majority of the roofing projects we have worked on in Kenya have a traditional joinery support structure. Construction of the structure is carried out on site with the help of sawn timber. The joints of the timber are nailed together and at times reinforced with the use of hoop iron around some of the joints. Fabrication on site is preferable as it allows for flexibility especially in cases where accuracy and consistency in measurements maybe a problem.

In the recent past, light gauge steel made a debut into the industry as a possible replacement to timber. The uptake has been on the rise with developers using it mostly as a truss structure in place of the traditional timber trusses. Its popularity is rising due to the light weight of the steel allowing for quick construction without heavy tools and equipment.

Pitched roof is also aesthetically appealing effective in shedding water hence reducing water leakage during heavy rains. Most home owners have come to refer to a pitched roof as the crown of their home, as if done correctly it not only depicts order but beauty of the home and elegance as well.

In reality, there is no flat roof. This term is generally used to describe roofs with low pitches, below 10 degrees. Mostly used for commercial buildings where the form of the building is not dependent on a visible roof. Climates with low levels of rainfall and high temperatures are also dominated with flat roofs that provide a living space on the roof in the form of a terrace. Flat roofs tend fail in places with high levels of rainfall.

As you ink down the sketches for your next project, or as you reconsider what you are currently building, we shall be at hand to share ideas and insights on several aspects of roofing for projects. The roof is a broad area whose surface we have just touched. In the coming issues of BUILDesign Magazine, we shall delve deeper into the various aspects of roofing and engage with you as we discuss some of these aspects in detail.

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Uber Faces Tax Crisis London

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Recent report by the Uber Technologies In-cooperation in London has brought to light an interesting report as the United Kingdom seeks to give the Uber company a new classification as a transport provider, putting the company at a risk of incurring new tax charges that could weigh heavily on the business, this according to UK recent days accounts filings.

The new tax charges possibility comes as a great discomfort for the company and causes it further headache as it is coupling up with the regulatory problems which the ride-hailing company is facing in London, one of its largest markets.

Uber says that the tax charges are to be 20% on the gross booking fees or rather, the amount passengers are expected to pay or on the service fees normally accorded to drivers, typically about 20-30% of the entire fare. This situation will leave Uber no choice but to increase its passenger fee charges which will leave it vulnerable to the competition who have over the years been complaining about Ubers’ non-payment of VAT.

Uber said that it risked a back tax claim which could run to hundreds of millions of pounds as the charges could apply in both a retroactively and prospectively way. The company is defending itself vigorously by explaining its beliefs on Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Currently, the structure of Uber is in such a way that for tax purposes, it exports digital services driver based in the United Kingdom from a Dutch subsidiary, Uber BV.  In future, Uber could be exposed to VAT because HMRC could deem its operation in UK to be a transport provider.

Uber failed to secure a 5 year term operating license by only being able to receive a 2 month London operating license in a battle with the regulator which has a history with the company of having stripped off its right to take rides.

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How this Company is Making it easy for Kenyans to own Smart Homes

Kimani Patrick

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From outright fraud to poor financial management claims by rogue developers, prospective homeowners in Kenya have become very skeptical on where to invest their money and achieve their dream of owning a dream home.

This notwithstanding, real estate is a lucrative industry and everyone should get a piece. But how can one identify a genuine dealer? Through professional management, industry experience, timely delivery and setting a track record right from the beginning, a concept that the newest affordable homes developer, Nyumbani Concepts, understands very well.

Founded in June 2019 and guided by the core values of integrity, transparency, professionalism, timeliness, prudence and honesty, the company started out on a mission to redefine affordable housing delivery in Kenya and to positively empower families across the country through home ownership.

The directors of the company Joseph Nderitu (Managing Director), Martin Njoroge (Chief Executive Officer) And Loontubu Caroline (Director Sales & Marketing) have a combined 15 years’ experience in real-estate, financial services and marketing ensuring that your investment is with the right professional team.

Nyumbani team is hands-on when it comes to ensuring site approvals are done within the set timeframes and that all properties are in good condition, location and perfect view before handing over to their clients. And with every transaction, the firm stresses on creative problem solving coupled with judicious application of sound real estate principles.

The company has created housing opportunities for all kinds of pockets at very fair and almost unbelievable deals with its flagship project already at the roofing stage – three months after laying its foundation. Installation of windows and doors have also been done and the contractor has already commenced on house plastering this week.

One of the houses at the Boma Estate by Nyumbani ConceptsWith at least Ksh 1.6M deposit, one is able to own a home with Nyumbani Concepts. The company allows you to pay remaining balance within a flexible period of 12 months as your home gets constructed. As an investor, the flexible investment terms give you an opportunity to strike amazing deals for a very fancy, fascinating and well-constructed home which matches your dream that will be a delight to own and reside.

With three projects in progress so far, Nyumbani is not just the first Kenyan company to grow with trackable speed but also the first to develop internet-ready homes. In every project, the company is installing CCTV security cameras and intercom connectivity for gate security.

Taking a look at the inaugural project, Boma Estate, a gated estate containing 3-bedrooms master en-suite bungalows which sold out within two weeks; the estate provides the owners with a shelter which not only soothes it but also inspires and energizes it like never before, beyond your wildest dreams.

Guided by the right principles, led by the right team and staring out setting the right track record, Nyumbani Concepts is the firm to trust in delivering your dream to own a home. But do not take our word for it, visit the company’s offices at Western Heights 1st floor right wing, Karuna Road, Westlands, Nairobi and ask for a free site visit. You can also call or send them a message on 0723 310000.

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KCB M-Pesa to Be Unavailable for 5 Hours on Saturday Morning to Allow System Upgrade

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KCB M-pesa service will be unavailable this Saturday on a scheduled maintenance. The maintenance is set to take 5 hours starting 2am Saturday October 4 2019 to 7am same day.

“Due to a planned system maintenance KCB M-PESA services will be unavailable on Saturday 5th Oct from 02:00am – 07:00am. We apologize for the inconvenience.” read a text sent to the service subscribers on Friday night.

Throughout the period subscribers will not access any KCB Mpesa services.

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