SECURITY AND SAFETY, TOP DRIVERS OF DEMAND FOR PROPERTIES
During the period 2018-2022, the Government of Kenya plans to commit a total of shillings 1 trillion, to be utilized towards construction of 1 million low cost housing. This translates to construction of 200,000 units annually. An interview contacted in September 2018 indicated that over 80% of property buyers and tenants in middle and high-end category ranked security and safety as the top driver of demand for residential properties. Kenyans are incessantly bombarded with media coverage of muggings, home invasions, assassinations and cold blood killings. A new defensive mindset is emerging, ‘ I hope that won’t happen here tonight”. As a consequence, Kenya’s property landscape has given rise to gated community concept offering a panacea to these many anxieties. The government “Nyumba Kumi” initiative has augmented this phenomenon. The script is clear; security and safety are the most fundamental; most desirable considerations in planning property features. The main features factored during the project planning phases; from project concept notes, feasibility studies, environmental Impact Assessment reports to Architectural designs include; electric fencing, alarm systems, sensors, security guardhouses, detailed grills, CCTV surveillance and intercom system. In some cases, security surveys recommend bankers, fortified family assembly rooms and other sophisticated arrangements also incorporating escape routes. So far, great success has been achieved in this space. New trends are, however, emerging; the center of gravity has shifted. There are perilous safety considerations that need attention. First, it is instructive that there are health maladies arising from properties located on roads reserves, flight paths, and riparian zones. There are air and noise pollution issues that should be scrutinized. Radiation is becoming a factor. Secondly, right for the old, persons living with disability and children. Finally, it is wise to establish whether a property of interest is subject of annual environmental Audits. The purpose of this is to establish the level of air quality, whether that borehole water is fit for human consumption, whether that generator has adverse impacts on air quality, whether construction materials are lead based or the roof contain asbestos and whether that security camera is supported by solar to function in events of a power shutdown. The help by a licensed environmental Lead Expert is highly recommended. It is judicious for all and sundry to rise up against the increasing catalog of dirty lives. Dirty cities and towns, dirty food, dirty money, dirty business, dirty politics, dirty power, dirty water and dirty working conditions. Enough. Property professionals, developers, buyers and tenants, it is your responsibility to deliver to Kenyans the good lives enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. The choice is between prevention, cure or death.
By Mutua P. Nzoka
Director General-Green Kenya Corporation