By Caroline Ariba
Mariah Agona, a mother, with a family house in Luzira, a city suburb, thought it was time to expand her house. However, she ended up spending more than she had planned. Reason? A dishonest builder.
“First of all, I sent him to buy bricks and the following day, I found tiny bricks, most of which had got broken at the site,” she explains. As if that was not bad enough, the builder said he had bought each at sh300. Bricks that cost sh300 are the best quality.
“When I sent him to buy a door, he returned with something that did not match the cost he was saying,” she says. “I abandoned the project for some months because it had gone beyond my budget.”
Ndegemo works in Kansanga, a city suburb. “My husband and I took up a loan and stocked building materials. We planned that when we complete repaying the loan, we would take another and start building,” she explains.
When they completed paying the loan, the couple embarked on the construction. However, they say their builders exchanged their cement with fake ones.
“A neighbour saw a pick-up truck that took bags of ‘cement’ to our site at night,” she says.
“We brought in someone to inspect the construction materials and discovered that even the paint was counterfeit. We complained to the hardware shop that had sold us the materials, but realised they had genuine products,” she said.
When they confronted their builder, he vanished. Up to now, their house is still at foundation level.
Simon Olupot, an employee at Parliament
“My builders even had receipts from known construction material distributors, yet they were quacks,” Olupot says.
When construction commenced, the walls eventually collapsed. He sought advice from another builder, who discovered that the materials they bought were fake.
“They bought low quality materials and forged receipts from reputable hardware suppliers, ” he says. When Olupot confronted the builders, one of them confessed to foul play.
Dennis Lwanga, who owns a hardware shop in Nakasero, Kampala, says: “Always get local builders who have built homes of similar size and style. . However, it is important to know that costs of building materials often fluctuate,” he adds.
Lumu recently started a construction company. He said builders are like children, who need to be supervised all the time. “If you cannot contract a company for the whole project, then ensure there is a supervisor at the site,” he says.
If you consult builders before starting construction, they will be honest with you
He adds that many times, people employ a guard at the site to watch over the materials.