Common Mistakes Made by Kenyans in Building Foundations for Houses


A foundation is one of the most critical features of any house or apartment, as any mistake during this step can affect the entire construction process.

In Kenya, most cases of building collapses have been attributed to poorly laid foundations and architectures that failed to examine ground structures before drawing plans.

Although most foundation problems emanate from soil conditions, poor drainage or extreme weather, the repercussions sometimes take years to manifest.

In other cases, poorly established foundations come from architects who fail to stick to approved designs by the National Construction Authority of Kenya.

Builders supervising the excavation process.

The constructor

Common Mistakes

Uneven slabs

Some builders fail to match the level of the landscape, which makes the slab uneven and leads to the collapse of the entire structure. If contractors and other engineers involved in construction fail to level a slab, a house can experience unforeseen settlement over time.

Build on soft ground

In areas such as Machakos County, the black cotton soil requires deep excavation before a foundation can be placed. In Taita Taveta County, rocks under the ground must be broken before building a house.

However, some contractors use sub-par construction techniques, while others build foundations on poorly compacted soils.

Foundations constructed using substandard techniques may result in the sinking or settling of the house.

Do not let the water dry out completely

Some experts say that it is essential to give a foundation time, almost a week, to dry before continuing construction.

The water triggers a chemical reaction that causes the mix to adhere and strengthen the concrete. If the concrete slab is not kept sufficiently moist throughout the curing process, it will dry out too quickly.

This makes the concrete too brittle to support the weight of the whole house. As a result, your concrete may end up with cracks while still relatively new.

Unapproved building material

Building under construction in part of Ruaka

Building under construction in part of Ruaka.


Some contractors end up using cheap, inferior materials in the construction process. Others even fail to mix the concrete properly during the process.

In the long term, this results in the collapse of structures.

Incorrect depth

Some contractors pour the concrete before properly digging the ground to save time and even money. However, the concrete does not hold properly, leading to the collapse of the house.

If the foundation is laid on an uneven slab, it may be noticed that one side of a house is lower than the other or that its center is sinking.

Signs of a weak foundation include cracks, uneven floors, and gaps around window and door frames.


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