AN INVESTIGATIVE STUDY INTO THE APPLICATION OF EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE (EPS) AS AN ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY IN BRIDGING THE HOUSING DEFICIT IN KENYA (A Case Study of Koto Building System from Koto Housing (K) Limited) BY KARIUKI MERCY WAMBUI B66/36047/

ABSTRACT
Currently, Kenya is facing a housing deficit as the demand for houses is more than what the developers are supplying. The growing housing deficit is attested to the growing middle class income earners and lack of affordable housing. Furthermore, the construction costs are high; the change in cost of materials is ever unpredictable and there is slow delivery of projects. There is an attempt to solve this problem through the introduction of alternative building technologies to Kenya such as expanded polystyrene technology. This is an imported technology from the advanced countries which has proven to be better alternative building material as it reduces project time and cost eventually.
This project carries out an intensive research on the application of expanded polystyrene (EPS) technology as an alternative technology in the bridging of the housing deficit in Kenya. A case study of Koto Building System by Koto Housing Kenya was used to investigate whether their building system is a solution to low cost housing through faster and cheaper housing hence curbing the housing deficit. The Koto technology originates from Malaysia and borrows from expanded polystyrene technology in that the Koto panels provide a permanent formwork to reinforced concrete columns and beams in the construction of buildings. The main objective of this project was to determine the cost implications of using the Koto Building System in the building industry in Kenya in comparison to the traditional brick and mortar building method. Data was collected through some written material and interviews as the researcher required in depth information and a better understanding of the Koto technology.
The main findings of this study are that the Koto Building System incorporates a column and beam system. The Koto panels have vertical core holes which are filled with concrete and have reinforced steel bars running through them at intervals hence being stronger than the other expanded polystyrene panels produced in the Kenyan construction market. Challenges include low availability of expertise and acceptance of the technology. Other findings are that the material cost of Koto panels is greater than that of masonry stones. The total project time is reduced by 50%. 16% savings are made on labour costs and 20% transportation costs. The overall total project cost is reduced by 16% while using the Koto Building System. It was concluded that Koto technology still has a long way to go in terms of being adopted into the Kenyan building industry and it offers a solution to the provision of affordable housing.