Nassim Kassim and Joseph Ngotho picked the Interlocking Blocks system from Dubai
What is Interlocking Block technology all about?
The technology, which we borrowed from Dubai, involves specialised blocks developed on site and technically fused to form beautiful bricks. What our company is doing is sell the model to the middle class at an affordable rate. More importantly, however, is the element of quality that we put together for the end client. The interlock system a lot much because on average, we take between 60 and 120 days for a project to be completed. This concept is picking up locally and it’s already well rooted in Asia and Europe.
How is the market reception?
We get a lot of inquiries from curious Kenyans, which has spurred us forward. However, a lot of our business comes from referrals. We are not only introducing an alternative housing module, but an affordable package too.
Initially, there was a bit of rejection and rigidity about the concept, but we managed to convince a few clients. The trick with the technology is to execute good ratios of sand and ballast and use well-trained builders to deliver a good building. Based on our approach, we are almost overwhelmed with projects, forcing us to put clients on a waiting list.
What is your portfolio of clients?
Sweet Waters Housing has a variety of clientele, from residential to office space. Though our flagship product is housing, we get queries about other projects and we always endeavour to satisfy the end user. Currently, we have a contract with the Laikipia County Government and have done other projects with the national government as well. Schools and hospitals projects are also underway. This is good progress for us because it means our professionalism is appreciated by many. There is continued research on what the customer wants and how we can improve our service offering.
What challenges do you face?
There is still an element of laxity from the authorities with respect to modernisation of processes. Getting paperwork approved and done takes ages, hence customers get seriously jittery. The corruption disease is also still rampant, including at the county levels, which is hurting businesses and affecting timelines of project compromises on quality.
Unfortunately we also have fake developers who wring unsuspecting clients dry. On the flip side, there is a pedestrian understanding of the sector by potential investors. Some of these issues need to be addressed in stakeholders’ forum because government revenue is being lost and clients getting wasted. For us, what we have picked is that one needs to get a niche in this line and do it well.